Authored by: Siobhan McEvoy-Levy

Routledge Handbook of Peacebuilding

Print publication date:  January  2013
Online publication date:  February  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415690195
eBook ISBN: 9780203068175
Adobe ISBN: 9781135082130


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‘Youth’ is a fluid concept that changes over time and in relation to larger geo-economic and political developments as well as local factors such as patronage systems and gender norms (Jeffrey and Dyson 2008). While youth are defined with some minor variations by the United Nations, World Bank, and governmental aid agencies as between the ages of 12 and 29, local understandings of youth and adulthood can be different and determined by variables such as marital or job status. Of course, ideas about who is a child or a youth may also be manipulated for pragmatic peacebuilding purposes, including matching the perceived needs/desires of international actors (Shepler 2005). Still, a widely shared understanding of youth as a state of transition, and of the young needing guidance, can be discerned across contexts at the present time. Therefore, in this chapter, youth are defined as those people who are customarily considered ‘not yet adults’ by their societies.

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