Youth Citizenship in Sierra Leone: Everyday Practice and Hope

Alice Chadwick

Research output: Chapter or section in a book/report/conference proceedingChapter or section


This chapter draws upon existing theoretical and empirical literature to explore youth agency and citizenship in Sierra Leone. Sierra Leone’s young population, alongside a history of civil-conflict, has led to anxieties about young people and their role within society, making Sierra Leone an important case for exploring how youth citizenship is conceived in a context in which young people’s inclusion became a key focus of development agendas. First, some definitions of the key terminology are provided making use of existing theoretical literature followed by a brief outline of the relevant historical and sociopolitical context. The chapter then engages with three case studies that provide insight into how young people engage with citizenship in Sierra Leone; firstly, through an exploration of informal employment and citizenship in Freetown – the country’s capital; secondly, through an examination of the growth of youth-based civil society after the civil-conflict; and finally through an examination of how the Ebola epidemic (2014–2016) shaped young people’s enactment and experience of citizenship through volunteering. Through these case studies, an argument is made for the need to interrogate how young people navigate the gap between experiences of citizenship and expectations or hoped-for alternatives, acknowledging young people’s hope for a different future, while appreciating the difficulty for young people of everyday citizenship encounters. The gap identified raises questions about the contradictions between often unobtainable global citizenship ideals and the difficulty of the everyday practice of citizenship.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Palgrave Handbook of Citizenship and Education
EditorsAndrew Peterson, G Stahl, H Soong
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-67905-1
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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