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Title: "An idle mind is the Devil's workshop"? : the politics of work amongst Freetown's youth
Author: Enria, Luisa
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2015
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Youth unemployment has been presented as a security risk to countries emerging from civil war. These assessments often rely on the assumption of a direct relationship between labour market exclusion and political violence. This thesis challenges this assumption, not by denying that the connection exists, but by suggesting that we need a better understanding of how the two are related. Through qualitative research with young people engaged precariously on the margins of the informal economy in Sierra Leone's capital, Freetown, the thesis explores how labour market experiences influence different patterns of political mobilisation. It puts forward that violence is not inherent to unemployment, but that the impact of joblessness on mobilisation is mediated by social factors and the specific nature of the post-war political economy. For Freetown's youth, labour market exclusion has implications for social status, identities, norms and the nature of social relations. This in turn shapes their political subjectivities and claims on the state; it structures the opportunities and constraints to their collective action; and influences their trajectories towards political violence. These processes reflect a fraught articulation between tactics employed expediently to respond to structural circumstances and longer-term aspirations. Individual attempts to survive adverse economic and political terrains coexist with work-based political claims placed on the state and aspirations of social and political inclusion, even if the two are often at odds and the former undermine the latter.
Supervisor: Mustapha, Raufu ; Bano, Masooda Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available