Youth and Political Engagement in Contemporary Africa (2012–2016)

This research consortium examines political processes and opportunities for engagement from the perspective of young people in Africa. It is a joint project of the Swedish School of Social Science (previously Development Studies) and the Finnish Youth Research Network, and funded by the Academy of Finland (YoPo [258235] IP: E. Oinas).

The research project focuses on contemporary societal changes in contexts where the rapidly growing majority of population is young and questions of political participation, citizenship, livelihoods and frustrations require urgent attention. It draws on empirical research in Egypt, Somalia, Tunisia, Zambia and South Africa and reveal different aspects of what ‘politics’ may mean in unstable contexts. They differ in terms of state formation and democratic structures, post-conflict developments, NGO involvement, donor funding and global connections. The ethnographic case studies focus on forms, contents and experiences of political engagement in the everyday lives of young people – including potential de-politication, professationalization, consumerism and struggles for mundane livelihood – in different contexts of contemporary Africa.

The consortium project is co-directed by Elina Oinas and Leena Suurpää, and comprises of a team of five researchers: Petri Hautaniemi, Sofia Laine, Tiina-Maria Levamo, Henri Onodera, and Eija Ranta. The project also has an international advisory board.

Sofia Laine

Sofia Laine

Research Professor

PhD, title of docent in Youth Research (University of Tampere)

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+358 44 416 5374

Researcher profile