Accepted paper:

Stuck in a perennial crisis: youth, boredom and endurance in Amman


Daniele Cantini (University of Halle - Wittenberg)

Paper short abstract:

The paper examines how Jordanian students ‘wait out’ their university years, navigating their way in a challenging political context. It discusses political resignation and the general sense of stuckedness, as well as students´ ways of coping with the situation and of building a loose sense of community

Paper long abstract:

This paper tests the notion of waithood among Jordanian university graduates, putting it in dialogue with the one of stuckedness. Waithood refers to the presumed common traits of Arab university graduates, unemployed, marginalised, and forced into years of wasted time before being able to obtain a job and marry, and Jordan is a particularly apt example both for the celebrated success of its educational system and for the relevance of its youth on the overall population. Stuckedness points out to the sense of not moving forward; the perceived crisis of education and the loss of perspectives, not just at the economic but more importantly at the citizenship level, make Jordanian students a good entry point to investigate the nexus between boredom, intimacy, and governance. The paper examines how Jordanian students wait out their university years, trying to find their ways in a political context that is heavily shaped by a number of crisis in almost all neighbouring countries, which have heavy consequences in Jordan. First aim of the paper is thus to present a discussion of the consequences of stuckedness in the political realm. Among students feelings of boredom, and fears of waithood, abound but within a notion of normalcy, of the endurance necessary to successfully wait out this liminal condition. This creates a sense of shared identity, at least for the years spent on campus, and second aim of the paper is to discuss ways in which students somehow create a community, with quite specific norms and values.

panel P068
Boredom, intimacy and governance in 'normalized' times of crisis