Accepted paper:

From the streets to the ballot box: the youth in the struggles for political change in Senegal (2011-2012)


Séverine Awenengo Dalberto (Institut des mondes africains (Cemaf))

Paper short abstract:

This paper analyzes the process of the Senegalese mobilizations against the Wade regime in 2011-2012 - from the streets to the ballot box. It focuses on the youth movement “Y’en a marre”, exploring its relationship with the issues of citizenship and dissent and how it echoes with the Arab Spring

Paper long abstract:

The 'Senegalese revolution' was initiated in the streets in June 2011, almost reaching an insurrectional point but eventually ended in the ballot boxes. This paper aims to understand this process, by following the reconfiguration of the mobilisations on the social and political agenda. It attempts to grasp what these mobilisations reveal of the relationship of Senegalese and particularly the youth with the issues of citizenship and dissent. Based on fieldwork, this paper focuses of the trajectory of the 'Y'en a marre' movement that was at the forefront of the civil unrest. Created by young hip hop artists and journalists, Y'en a marre owes a lot to its capacity to embody the youth's aspirations, as social recognition and moralization of the political arena. Beyond the few direct references of Y'en a marre to the Arab spring (as the slogans), we can also observe some common links, which particularly reflect the globalised and 'connected' nature of this dissenting generation. However, political heritages and contexts of opportunities and constraints have notably differed, particularly in relation with civic liberties and State repression. Thus, the Senegalese youth have invented their way out of the crisis, eventually accepting the electoral alternative to oust Wade out of the Presidential Palace. This paper also focuses on the effects of the international readings of the Senegalese experience. We analyse the reconversion of Y'en a marre in the transnational field of citizen mobilisations through international organisations and alter-globalization networks that partook in shaping it as a 'model' of Sub-Saharan mobilisation

panel P092
Contestation and political change: exploring patterns across borders and regions