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Accepted Paper:

Coming of age in postcolonial island: school children and imaginative worlds in contemporary political crisis of Madagascar  
Valentina Mutti (University of Milan - Bicocca)

Paper long abstract:

Based on intensive fieldwork conducted among Betsileo and Vakinankaratra children and youth living in the city of Antsirabe (Highlands Madagascar), my paper focuses on both crisis and imagination from a children-oriented approach.

After the political collapse of 2002, the current generation of children has recently experienced a political crisis in 2009 when, following months of demonstrations, the leader of the opposition Rajoelina toppled the President Ravalomanana with the army's backing: schools were closed and the island has been ostracized by international community. As the everyday life of schoolchildren has changed, I explore how the discourse about future, formal education and gender identities are re-shaped by Malagasy youngsters under the light of this crisis.

By collecting girls' and boys' narratives and teachers' points of view, I describe how children's itineraries and their imaginative landscapes are affected by the perception of crisis and their "coming of age" in a unstable country. At the same time, I underline how imagination can be used by children themselves as a tool of finding a (gendered) place in a postcolonial society.

Panel W093
Lifeworlds of children and youth in times of crisis
  Session 1