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Accepted Paper:

Youth and identity during election time in Burundi  
Lidewyde Berckmoes (African Studies Centre Leiden)

Paper long abstract:

This paper aims to explore how various identity categories lose or gain meaning and are employed in youth's daily lives before and during Burundi's 2010 elections.

From the international community's perspective the 2010 election process in Burundi is an important next step in Burundi's transition to a (stable) democracy at peace. For Burundians the elections provide momentum for a reassessment of existing and emerging social categories (including those based upon ethnicity, regionalism etcetera). Young people especially are challenged by their surroundings to rethink the definitions of friend and foe, winner and loser through such categories. How do young people deal with these challenges, and build upon, negotiate the meaning of, or create new identity categories?

The paper is based on ongoing fieldwork (2007, 2009, 2010) with youth in Bujumbura's northern quarters - a primary battle ground in the past war and (still) important backyard for politicians.

Panel W078
Anthropology of categories in peace and conflict
  Session 1