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Accepted paper:

Young, displaced and aspiring to work: navigating uncertain and shifting landscapes of opportunities and constraints in Lebanon and Jordan.

Authors:

Cathrine Brun (Oxford Brookes University)
Zoe Jordan (Oxford Brookes)
Oroub El Abed (Centre for Lebanese Studies)

Paper short abstract:

The paper discusses the role of aspirations in shaping the trajectories of young people from education into employment in protracted displacement settings in Lebanon and Jordan in the context of poor access to quality education and a highly restricted labour market.

Paper long abstract:

There has been increased emphasis on the possibility to work and be independent of aid in protracted displacement. However, hosts states continue to be restrictive with access to work for refugees. This paper reflects on insights from a research project on what shapes the trajectories of young people from education into employment in protracted displacement settings in Lebanon and Jordan. The paper seeks to understand the role of aspirations of young people in the context of poor access to quality education and a highly restricted labour market. The paper first discusses the meaning of youth and the multidimensional and multidirectional trajectories of young people. Second, the paper develops a critical understanding of aspiration in the context of the particular legal constraints to employment that young refugees in Lebanon and Jordan experience. Based on a rich set of data from a survey, qualitative interviews, a collaborative analysis with young people and artistic performances, the role of aspirations in understanding young people's trajectories is analysed. The data are presented through typical trajectories to show how, in interaction between agentic capacities and constraints, young people continuously navigate the restricting, shifting and uncertain field of employment possibilities. Young people imagine, articulate and seek towards particular futures. In conclusion, we indicate the temporal injustices protracted displacement produce by restricting the potential for pursuing and reaching these desired futures.

panel AA08
Trajectories of refuge: protracted displacement and humanitarian responses