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Refusing Reform, Reworking Pity, or Reinforcing Privilege? The Multivalent Politics of Young People's Fun and Friendship within a Volunteering Encounter

Cheung Judge, R; (2020) Refusing Reform, Reworking Pity, or Reinforcing Privilege? The Multivalent Politics of Young People's Fun and Friendship within a Volunteering Encounter. Antipode 10.1111/anti.12635. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

This paper analyses initiatives which took British young people from ethnic minority and disenfranchised backgrounds to volunteer in sub‐Saharan Africa. It asks whether decolonial possibilities can be seen in the politics of youthful fun and friendship amid a practice undeniably driven by interpenetrating neocolonial logics, where enrolment in helping “needy” others is seen as a means to “improve” working‐class and racially marked youth. The paper argues that volunteers’ investments in leisure constituted a politics of refusal towards how they were acted upon as objects of concern. More ambivalently, playful, friendly interactions between British and African youth disrupted relations of charitable pity and signalled desires for solidarity and equality, but cannot be claimed as fully decolonial. At times, fun also re‐entrenched neocolonial and other oppressive relations. Overall, the paper demonstrates that a close reading of the multivalent, affective politics of young people’s fun and friendship can reveal much about the reproduction or subversion of contemporary neocolonial logics that operate both within and beyond the borders of postcolonial Britain.

Type: Article
Title: Refusing Reform, Reworking Pity, or Reinforcing Privilege? The Multivalent Politics of Young People's Fun and Friendship within a Volunteering Encounter
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/anti.12635
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1111/anti.12635
Language: English
Additional information: © 2020 The Author. Antipode published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Antipode Foundation Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: youth, decolonisation, affect, fun and friendship, neocolonialism, volunteer-tourism
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10106370
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