Accepted Paper:

Two youth groups in the context of a small Guinean border town: the motorbike taxi union and the scouts  


Michelle Engeler (University of Basel)

Paper short abstract:

The aim of this paper is to understand youths’ agency in the context of two youth groups active on the edge of the Guinean state: The motorbike taxi union and the scouts.

Paper long abstract:

Based on long-term fieldwork and in-depth life history interviews with young people in a small Guinean border town this paper contributes to ongoing debates on youths' agency amidst social and political transformation processes. The aim is to compare two different youth groups on the edge of the Guinean state: the motorbike taxi union and the local branch of the scout movement. How do the members of both groups address the at times challenging everyday and how do they perform and shape the political by driving around town or meeting at church? While answering these questions this paper has a closer look at how the young members of both groups relate to various actors and spaces of time. Whereas the young men of the motorbike taxi union point to the region's former war context and relate to national union authorities, the girl and boy scouts refer to the international scout movement active in Guinea since colonial times and distance themselves from the scouts-like pioneer movement of Revolutionary Guinea. Finally, both groups' members through their practices and discourses deal with their homeland's past and creatively participate at their society's future beyond merely affiliating to local and international NGOs.

Panel P165
Novel spaces for African youth: creativity, entrepreneurship and political action