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Durham University

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Social resilience among young Liberians

A research project of the Department of Anthropology, part of the Anthropology in Development and Anthropology in Development research groups.


Children and youth displaced by conflict are typically depicted as passive victims. However, recent anthropological approaches place greater emphasis on young people as active agents, able to control and influence their situations. We hope to explore these processes among the young people of one group of displaced people: Liberian forced migrants in Buduburam Refugee Settlement, Ghana.

We focus on how young people cope with cultural disruption and psychological trauma, how they maintain and develop new forms of social support, and how governments and local NGOs can best support and promote their social resilience. Four months intensive fieldwork are envisaged, drawing on a range of interview methods, participatory and visualisation techniques, and participant observation. This is a pilot study, linking to parallel work into Afghan refugee youth in Pakistan. If successful it would form the basis of a larger-scale study into social resilience among youth in refugee situations.


From the Department of Anthropology