Speaking peace into being : voice, youth and agency in a deeply divided society
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This thesis asks how voice enables youth to claim agency within divided societies, and what are the implications of this in terms of conflict and peacebuilding? It is an analysis of the significance of young people's voices to international relations. The research is framed in terms of human rights and human security, children's rights, and recognition theories. Its aim is to draw conclusions both about the nature of voice and agency, or power, and about how the framing of the present research in this area impacts the ability of the discourse to take into account the significance of listening to those who are marginalized. From these starting points the thesis will explore questions such as the following: In what ways do children have a voice? If young people had more of a voice, would it make a difference? Does having a voice lead to power? If so, does this create a culture of respect for this voice, and in turn an increase in the speaker's ability to claim agency? Does increasing participation have an impact upon people's likeliness to resort to violence? These aspects are important because they contribute to knowledge and frameworks for peacebuilding in post-conflict areas and the link between voice and violence may provide a key to reducing youth violence in post-conflict areas, but most significantly, hearing young voice could contribute to a sustainable peace, envisioned by and cultivated by the very generation that must own that peace if it is to become lasting.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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