Name researcher: Mirjam de Bruijn
Affiliation: Leiden University/ASCL

The ‘crisis’ that is the focus of the research project, namely the ways Fulbe are involved in various conflicts in West and Central Africa, including the high risks of their possible engagement in Jihadism, can also be explained as a crisis in youth identity dynamics, or as new identity dynamics. Expressions of identity are various and can be cultural (music, arts in general) and also in different forms of discourse as we find them among young men drinking tea, and the way in which the youth access social media also use these media as a form of expression. In this project I will investigate different forms of cultural and social expression of the crisis by Fulani Youth and Elders. I base myself on the theoretical work that comes out of the project Connecting-in-times-of-duress. The project will feed into the development of the Voice4thought festival that will be organised at the end of the research project and will be based on the project findings. This will be done by interviewing and participating in youth activities, studies of social media, music performance, if possible through a comparison with older forms of youth expression that were prevalent in the 1980s and 1990s in the form of music and cassettes with recitals.

Activities over time

  1. Inventory of cultural expressions in Fulbe culture, youth and elderly; traditional and modern forms; over the past twenty years
  2. Analysis of these expressions and the changes therein, to understand the influence of the recent ‘crisis’;
  3. This will be done in Mali, the first contacts are already established
  4. Analysis of Facebook expressions, capturing as well the more educated youth
  5. Situating these in the cultural landscape of Fulani culture and the influences of other cultures

Deliverables over time

  1. Semester reports
  2. Articles (2018, 2019)
  3. Blog posts, 2017-2019
  4. Policy briefs for the policy discussions (2018-2019)
  5. Input in the Voice4thought festival (Dakar, Bamako)