‘Be Prepared’ for Peace: The Global Scouting Movement’s Discourse on Youth Agency in Peacebuilding

University essay from Lunds universitet/Statsvetenskapliga institutionen

Abstract: Perspectives on the role of children and young people in peacebuilding often overlook youth agency. However, the growth of critical theories in peace and conflict studies in the later decades has shone a new light on the need to acknowledge youth as parties to peacebuilding. Through a lens of peace education, this paper analyzes the discourse on youth agency in the context of the largest youth movement in the world, the global scouting movement. The theoretical framework posits that in order for peace education to enable youth agency, it needs to facilitate redistribution, representation, recognition, and reconciliation. The result shows, based on documentation from the 42nd World Scout Conference, that the global scouting movement has constructed a strong discursive link between youth and agency in peacebuilding. It has done so through educational ventures which are aligned with all of the approaches which peace education typically takes; socio-economic, socio-political, and socio-cultural approaches. However, the scouting movement’s discourse also places certain constraints on youth agency by linking youth to dependency, inherent peacefulness, and generalized interests and experiences.

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