Political participation of refugee and host community youths: epistemic resistance through artistic and participatory spaces

Cin, F. Melis; Walker, Craig; Süleymanoğlu-Kürüm, Rahime; Gunter, Ashley; Doğan, Necmettin; Truter, Lorna; Ahimbisibwe, Frank and Olaniyan, Tominke Christine (2023). Political participation of refugee and host community youths: epistemic resistance through artistic and participatory spaces. Journal of Youth Studies (Early access).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/13676261.2023.2273346

Abstract

The political participation of youth is growing in importance with the proliferation of youth parliaments, councils, and online campaigning. Yet, these sites are not accessible to all youth, especially those from minority, or refugee communities. Activism by these types of youth is often denounced or reduced to dehumanising narratives of their experiences. This paper aims to explore alternative spaces for and political participation of refugees through participatory art and exhibition spaces, which are critical for devising policies for pre-emptive peacebuilding and challenging potential intercommunal conflict. In this paper, we draw on a Photovoice project in Istanbul, Johannesburg and a refugee settlement in South-West Uganda (Oruchinga) that brought youth from FDPs and host communities together to reflect on their everyday experiences. All these sites are marked by increasing anti-refugee sentiments and xenophobia, where the voices of refugees are often denied and misinterpreted, making them compelling cases to elaborate on alternative participation methods and spaces for the political participation of refugees. The paper engages with the idea of epistemic (in)justice and resistance as an overarching condition to explore how the youth developed collective political voices.

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