Dr Majorke Oosterom – The Spectrum of Violence and Non-Violence: Youth and Social Navigation of Economic Opportunities in Zimbabwe

  • Date:
  • Time: 16:00
  • Location: Baines Wing SR 2.166
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In this seminar Marjoke Oosterom will speak about the perceptions of ‘violent youth’ in Africa and recent youth involvement in urban protest in Zimbabwe in particular. She will then discuss the findings of a study in a rural district town in Zimbabwe, where partisan actors control many of the economic opportunities available to young people; whether a formal job or the occasional ‘piece job’. Using the concept of ‘social navigation’ she will explain how young men and women assess the political affiliation of actors that offer such opportunities, and the potential implications of being associated with a particular ‘side’ in the political landscape. Contrary to dominant discourses that portray youth as violent, the findings from the study shows that many will avoid relationships through which they risk being mobilized into violence.



Marjoke Oosterom (PhD) is a research fellow and lecturer in the Power & Popular Politics research cluster at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), University of Sussex. She co-convenes the Youth Employment and Politics theme at IDS, which brings together researchers from various disciplines and comprises a large portfolio of projects.

Her research concentrates on how specific experiences and mechanisms of violent conflict affect forms of agency, citizenship and identity. Marjoke’s specific expertise is young people’s experiences of marginalization and insecurity, youth citizenship and action, and youth in the informal economy, in conflict-affected settings and repressive regimes. Her geographical focus is East and southern Africa. Current projects include the NorGlobal funded project on youth in authoritarian regimes in Mozambique, Uganda, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe; and the ESRC New Investigator project on political socialization of urban vendors in Zimbabwe.

Apart from research Marjoke is involved in advisory work for policy makers and international NGOs working on democratic governance, conflict, youth, voice and accountability, and citizen participation.