Young Guineans are increasingly turning to digital technologies to organize protests and contest political authority. This research explores how within the Guinean postcolonial context, digital technologies such as IP addresses or hashtags take on specific meanings and functions that distribute youth political agency and its regulation along commercialized and privatized forms of governance. Charting the divergent paths of recent campaigns such as #DroitALIdentite and #8000CBon provides an entry point for reflecting on youth as a political category in Guinea. Yet, rather than celebrate social media as enabling new forms of networked agency, this research argues for a theorizing of protests as taking form across unique arrangements of policy, histories, bodies and technologies. In Guinea, youth as a political category finds itself uniquely positioned across increasingly digitalized assemblages of protests.
Clovis Bergère is a visual ethnographer whose research examines the politics of youth as they are realized in relation to digital media in Guinea, West Africa. He recently completed his Ph.D. in Childhood Studies at Rutgers University-Camden, with a specialization in global youth media. His dissertation, “Digital Society and the Politics of Youth in Guinea,” explores social networking as a locus for the mediation and re-imagination of political subjectivities in Guinea. Using digital ethnography and participatory visual research, he examined the ways in which social media, youth, and politics intersect in the Guinean public sphere. His research has been supported by the African Studies Association, Rutgers Digital Studies Center and a David K. Sengstack Fellowship for excellence in Childhood Studies. In addition to digital media, he has written and published on street corners as spaces of youth socialization in Guinea. Prior to moving to the United States in 2011, he worked for seven years as a project manager in Children’s Services in London, UK, where he was responsible for building thirty innovative playgrounds and youth centers, focused on natural play and collaborative design.
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