Despite their marginal position in the socio-economic and political sphere, widely documented by researchers in social sciences, urban youths in Africa are not spectator as it is mostly reported. Their internal and external interactions with social and political structures remain rather complex and not sufficiently studied. They are often unpredictable as evidenced by the recent socio-political upheavals in West Africa; to mention but a few cases Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Senegal, etc.

This PhD-project aims at examining the role of youths in the socio-political dynamics in Zinder, Niger Republic, by focusing on social spaces of youths among which are "fada" and "palais" that are places of meeting and socialization where male youths discuss on social, political, cultural topics, develop practices, and from which they interact with other local structures. In the current context of marginalizing the youths, the predominant social category, "fada", "palais" constitute a hub for a better understanding of youths’ struggles in the local arena.

Thus, this project seeks to answer a fundamental question: How do youths, through social spaces, articulate experiences and develop agencies to circumvent or challenge the injunctions of the state and society? To react to this, the research leans on anthropological methods such as observation, participation and interviews, including personal experiences in Zinder.


Prof. Dr. Till Förster and Prof. Jean-Pierre Olivier de Sardan (CNRS/France, University Abdou Moumouni of Niamey and LASDEL/Niger)


Federal Commission for Scholarships for Foreign Students (Eidgenössische Stipendienkommission für ausländische Studierende ESKAS)