Accepted Paper:

Youth and the ambiguities of global modernity: the experience of marginality in the Archipelago of the Bijagós (Guinea Bissau)  
Lorenzo Bordonaro (Universidade Federal de Sergipe (SE), Brazil)

Paper short abstract:

My paper focuses on the link between the notions of 'civilisation', 'modernity' and 'development', highlighting the continuities between colonial and post-independence national and international policies in Guinea Bissau, and how the discourse of 'development' is appropriated by young people.

Paper long abstract:

Drawing on a 5 years long research on youth culture in Bubaque, Archipelago of the Bijagós, Guinea Bissau, my paper will focus upon three main issues. First, I will briefly pinpoint the genealogical link between the notions of 'civilisation', 'modernity' and 'development', highlighting the continuities between colonial and post-independence national and international policies in Guinea Bissau. Secondly, I will highlight how the discourse of 'development' and the institutions of modernity are appropriated by the young, and how they articulate with local social dynamics, bolstering and giving new shape to intergenerational conflicts. Finally - despite acknowledging the resilience of agency of young people - I will point up that the very discourse of development the young display triggers self-perceptions of marginality and peripheriality, as it conveys the idea of a unlinear evolution having at his apex the Euro-American urban civilisation, and placing Africans at the margins of this supposed common human destiny. What is more, albeit the optimistic fairytale linking 'globalization' with equity, development and participation and despite the emergence of novel centers of global capitalism, the young in Bubaque realize day after day that the new world order creates marginality as much as connections, often merely deepening and reorganization existing patterns of uneven geographical development established in the colonial era.

Panel W060
Strategic uses of colonial legacies in postcolonial encounters