New Forms of Youth Activism in Contested Cities: The Case of Beirut
Lebanese youth are constructed through fragmented lenses, and are recipients of partial, unresponsive, and often irrelevant policies. Despite these constraints, many youth have become actively engaged in political life, especially since 2005. Three types of youth engagement can be identified: i) the ‘conformists’, who privilege their sectarian belonging, ii) the ‘alternative groups’, who engage in professional NGOs, and iii) the new ‘activists’, who prefer loose organising centred on progressive and radical issues. New forms of youth activism in the contested city of Beirut have been able to exploit interstitial openings for seeds to grow into potentially “disruptive mobilizations”. While these resistances may have been limited up to now in time and space, youth activist groups still embarrass, hold accountable and constrain hegemonic politics. They may be generating seeds of collective action that still have to be further structured and organised.
Keywords: Youth, cities, urban activism, Beirut