Education, Urban Violence and Youth: Exploring Pathways or Roadblocks for 'Peace' in the City
Working Paper #10

Education, Urban Violence and Youth: Exploring Pathways or Roadblocks for 'Peace' in the City

March 2016

By Jovana Carapic and Mieke Lopes Cardozo

Although (violent) conflict and education still co-exist to a large extent in separate academic and practitioner silos, the linkages between them have begun to emerge as a central concern for a variety of stakeholders working on sustainable development and peace-building. Critically examining this relationship is important, especially in view of the range of societal changes taking place around the world: a growing younger population, rampant urbanization and spatial fragmentation, rising social inequalities, and high rates of (lethal) violence.

This paper explores whether and in what ways education can play a role in mitigating or preventing urban violence that mainly affects youth. The paper also recognises the possible negative effects of education. Specifically, in combination with uneven urbanization, education – whether available or not – can lead to an increased sense of social exclusion among the urban youth, which in turn can foster violence in the city (i.e. civic conflict). This paper explores these positive and negative interactions between education, youth and urban violence, and develops an emerging research agenda in this specific subfield. It argues how an expansive, rather than narrow, methodological ‘post-disciplinary’ framing is essential to exploring the relationships between formal and non-formal educational processes, various forms of urban violence and youth agency in relation to peace.

Jovana Carapic is an Associate Researcher at the Small Arms Survey, a project of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, in Geneva. Mieke T.A. Lopes Cardozo is an Assistant Professor at the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Coordinator of the IS Academie on Education and International Development, and Co-director of the Research Consortium on Education and Peacebuilding.