1st Edition

Youth Citizenship and the Politics of Belonging

Edited By Sharlene Swartz, Madeleine Arnot Copyright 2013

    Around the world today, young people are being called upon to develop civic competence and carry the burden of forging a political future in the midst of impoverishment, exclusion and inequality. In societies that have experienced civil war, military occupation, mass immigration of displaced people or social conflict, the conditions under which young people attempt to build their citizenship are not well understood.

    Youth Citizenship and the Politics of Belonging contributes to the field of youth citizenship studies by purposively exploring the experiences of young adults in the context of the formation of nationhood and global citizenship. It explores, from the perspective of various countries, the role of social context and schooling in creating young citizens. This collection offers a unique opportunity to hear the voices of young people themselves who, as ‘learner citizens’ within educational institutions, poor communities and refugee camps, amongst other settings, expose the tensions between social inclusion and marginalization.

    The book considers young people’s contemporary social movements, their activism and their sense of belonging. It looks at understandings of national, political and religious identities, youth rights, and various forms of state, community and sexual violence as well as strategic coping strategies, their reinterpretations of civic messages, and the ways in which anger, resistance and disengagement put youth in a difficult position.

    This book was originally published as a special issue of Comparative Education.

    1. Youth citizenship and the politics of belonging: introducing contexts, voices, imaginaries Madeleine Arnot, University of Cambridge, UK and Sharlene Swartz, Human Sciences Research Council, South Africa

    2. Vulnerability and the neo-liberal youth citizen: a view from Australia Julie McLeod, University of Melbourne, Australia

    3. Ikasi style and the quiet violence of dreams: a critique of youth belonging in post-Apartheid South Africa Sharlene Swartz, James Hamilton Harding, Human Sciences Research Council, South Africa and Ariane DeLannoy, University of Cape Town, South Africa

    4. ‘Children of the street’: sexual citizenship and the unprotected lives of Ghanaian street youth Georgina Yaa Oduro, Cape Coast University, Ghana

    5. The ‘German children’ of Mozambique: long-term legacies of a socialist educational experiment Tanja R. Müller, University of Manchester, UK

    6. Performing the ‘Knights of Change’: male youth narratives and practices of citizenship in Jordanian schools Roozbeh Shirazi, Columbia University, USA

    7. Gendered constructions of citizenship: young Kenyans’ negotiations of rights discourses Madeleine Arnot, University of Cambridge, UK, Fatuma Chege and Violet Wawire, Kenyatta University, Kenya

    8. Education for global citizenship in a divided society? Young people’s views and experiences Ulrike Niens, Queen’s University, Belfast, UK and Jacqueline Reilly, University of Ulster, UK

    9. Learning the nation in exile: constructing youth identities, belonging and ‘citizenship’ in Palestinian refugee camps in south Lebanon Kathleen Fincham, University of Sussex, UK


    Sharlene Swartz is Research Director at the Human Sciences Research Council in South Africa and an Adjunct Associate Professor in Sociology at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. She holds a Masters degree from Harvard University, USA, and a PhD in the Sociology of Education from the University of Cambridge, UK.

    Madeleine Arnot is Professor in Sociology of Education at Cambridge University, UK and is a Professorial Fellow at Jesus College, Cambridge, UK. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and Chair of the Executive Editorial Board of the British Journal of Sociology of Education.