The conference explored the predicament of young women and men in and from the MENA region in contemporary times. It brought together scholars and activists with the aim to analyse the visions, desires and projects emerging in the post-uprisings contexts among youth individuals, affective communities, social and political movements and social non-movements. Questions that were addressed include: what do the present and future look like at a time when young people’ visions for social justice, their aspirations towards socio-economic mobility and their projects of self-determination and liberation have been betrayed by increased precariousness, violence and surveillance?
These questions were approached from three crucial angles: political movements, apathy and mobility; vocabularies of change and affectivity; ‘wired communities’ and friendship.
How are young men and women re-organising in and across the region? Are they rethinking their strategies and spaces of action beyond and across the state? Are they creating, or joining in, transnational movements and political organisations? Is political apathy a shared reality or on the contrary this is a time where new terrains and spaces of actions and resistance are being articulated? When and how migration represent a way to reconcile personal and political aspirations? What visions, imaginaries and desires are embedded with desires to stay put or to leave?
What languages and channels are mobilised in the creation of new political, affective and social ties among young people in the contemporary Middle East? What new discourses and practices appeal to young people and which ones are losing their salience? What is the currency of modern frameworks and vocabularies like ‘Human rights’ ‘Gender and women’s rights’ in young people’s visions and political imaginaries today? How are sexuality, desire and change intertwined in the articulations of femininities and masculinities in the region?
How do we study the role of friendship, performance, art in creating new affective communities and political change? What has been, and what can continue to be, the role of internet-based forms of communication for youth political mobilisation, mobility and community formation, in the face of increasing censorship and authoritarian surveillance?
Convened by: Ruba Salih (SOAS), Lynn Welchman (SOAS) and Elena Zambelli (Institute of Development Studies and SOAS).
Admission Free. Pre-registration required. To register visit Eventbrite.
Photos courtesy FRAME, Cairo by Ibrahim Ezzat Hendy.
Organiser: LMEI and the Centre for Gender Studies in partnership with the Istituto Affari Internazionali
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