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Young People in Andean Local Groups: Shifting Identities and Societies in Transition

Applicant Fischer Eva
Number 113831
Funding scheme Project funding (special)
Research institution Institut für Sozialanthropologie Philosophisch-historische Fakultät Universität Bern
Institution of higher education University of Berne - BE
Main discipline Ethnology
Start/End 01.08.2007 - 31.07.2010
Approved amount 314'717.00
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Keywords (18)

Social patters; Young asolescents; Identity; Peasant societies; Social Network Analysis; adolescents; local groups; identity construction; transition societies; Rural communities; local traditions; juvenile labour force; language skills; capability; poverty reduction; endogenous development; educational time-out; mundialised youth cultures

Lay Summary (English)

Lay summary
60% of Bolivia's population is under 26 years. The research aims to support projects which widen young people's capabilities for poverty reduction. It focuses on the definition of differences and similarities of juvenile life contexts and their function as indicators of social and generative transformation processes in rural communities. How do these processes work and what effect do they have on young people's actions, social identities, capabilities and future prospects? The young people accompanied within the project's framework are bound to local contexts that socialize them in different ways. Two actor groups (traditionally/individually orientated) and two control groups (ethnisized / not highland linked) were defined.Three thematic blocks (subsuming, highland and tropical valley contexts) determined the working hypotheses and also gave structure to the study's outcome:1)Kinship and political ties still structure the traditional pattern of migration and simultaneously generate economic entities made up of highland and tropical valley communities. The crop cycles of both systems show how they interlock economically and also reflect the young people's migration movements. In the highlands' juvenile labour force constitutes a key factor for the families' subsistence. Despite of the tropical valley youth's poor indigenous language skills, a strong ethnic Aymara/Quechua identification is evident. These actors also enjoy an educational time-out and participate intensively in mundialised youth culture.2)The importance of elderly leaders for memory culture transfer associated with land rights and land use, and the high interest of young people in genuine local history became obvious. The determining factor of their social identity is linked to local contexts and to family and peer-group relations. Resilience through language practice constitutes an important factor in gaining capability for endogenous development processes and plays a key role in recovering local knowledge.3)Tropical valley communities are not embedded in homogenous socio-political structures that were formed over long periods. This constellation creates plurality and contrasts. The perception of land and labour force as commodities has led to a specific form of generativity, to individualised, job-orientated life plans and higher job qualifications of young people.The research activities were twofold and include a subsequently realized theoretical debate combined with field stays of totally 12 months. The qualitative data served as a base for quantitative data collection (558 questionnaires) and to test the results. It provides material for the planned SNA and further publications.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

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