University of Sussex
Talviste-Hershkowitz, Veronika.pdf (26.2 MB)

Supporting second-generation youth in a protracted urban displacement setting in Cartagena

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posted on 2023-06-09, 18:03 authored by Veronika Talviste-Hershkowitz
This thesis explores youth protection in the context of protracted internal displacement in Colombia. In particular, it sheds light on the rarely studied issue of female adolescents’ perspectives on protection and displacement, including second-generation internally displaced persons (IDPs). This study was conducted in an urban neighbourhood in Cartagena and focused on adolescents’ identities and pathways to adulthood, employing a combination of critical ethnography, narrative, and arts-based inquiries. I argue that the use of dominant concepts of global protection policy leads to humanitarian programming that reinforces existing labels and dichotomises displaced populations. Policies based on these dominant concepts often remain disconnected from the realities of youth affected by displacement and from the field of academia. The current policy approach to youth affected by displacement is also divided within policy, leading to compartmentalised programming. Through applying some unifying analytical concepts, a more accurate understanding of young lives can be reached. Specifically, the concepts of multiple identities and of the interplay between agency and oppression could lead to a more de-labelised and de-dichotomised implementation of protection policy. In the final empirical chapter, this argument is crystallised through an in-depth exploration of two young people’s lives. The first young person is affected by sexual exploitation and the second by gang engagement—both situations defined by existing policy as protection issues. This study investigates how policy could better connect with youth in protracted displacement situations. This research highlights the embedded and relational nature of displacement-affected adolescents’ protection. It reveals that, under certain circumstances, displacement could enhance protection—a link that is rarely acknowledged. By contributing in particular to the debate on durable solutions, this study suggests that practitioners work holistically with life stories in order to reach better policy outcomes for youth affected by displacement. The proposed approach could support young persons’ social navigation, strengthen connections between policy and academic research, and lead to better policy coherence.


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