Constructions of "youth" and "activism" in Lebanon

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


This chapter contributes to the understandings of youth activism through an examination of constructions of youth and activism in Lebanon. Lebanon provides an interesting case study given the role of youth in the uprisings in the region since 2011, as well as the demography of Lebanon and the region, where youth under the age of 18 make up over 40% of the population. Lebanon faces challenges as a postconflict sectarian society, with a large Palestinian and Syrian refugee population. There is high youth unemployment and high levels of youth alienation, yet there is also a vibrant youth civil society. Civil society organizations both protest against government and often take over the role of the state’s welfare provision. Drawing on existing theoretical and empirical research, the chapter illustrates the need to take a context-dependent approach to understandings of “youth” in contrast to universalized definitions of youth based on age. The chapter also provides an overview of examples of youth activism in Lebanon – including gender justice work, trash-related protests, environmental activism, and the role of bloggers. Drawing on these examples, the chapter argues the case for a socio-politically nuanced approach with regards to understanding what counts as “activism” in Lebanon. The arguments presented challenge dominant approaches to the study of youth and activism in the Arab world typically framed in relation to Western and international initiatives supporting democracy promotion.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Palgrave Handbook of Citizenship and Education
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Apr 2018


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