Workshop on Indigenous Communities, Knowledge and Youth Perspectives on Career, Employment and Entrepreneurship in Africa
Context and challenge
Indigenous people globally have experienced a similar history of exclusion due to settler colonialism and continuation of colonial patterns of exclusion and otherness. Both during and after colonialism, Indigenous peoples' traditional economic and knowledge systems have been delegitimized and distorted. The postcolonial state has been guided by neoliberal values in framing the problem of unemployment in terms of neoliberal values to co-opt and (re)colonize Indigenous youth into 'formal employment' structures. Massive unemployment resulting from COVID-19 has laid bare the limits of policy on the challenges of unemployment in Indigenous communities in Africa. Research on employment and entrepreneurship (self-employment) among young Indigenous women and men has been carried out without the active voices of Indigenous youth. This approach has silenced the voices of the Indigenous people being studied in ways that undermine their subjectivities. Apart from the implications of this approach on policies, there are reasons to believe that it profoundly affects the socio-economic health and well-being of Indigenous youths in Africa
Apart from the obvious continuity of colonial pattern of otherness of Indigenous communities, a far more fundamental challenge is the epistemological and ontological question of classification of indigeneity. Although the United Nations classified several groups in Africa as Indigenous peoples based on their ways of life and forms of governance, questions arise as to how these classifications came into being. There are concerns that these classifications followed on the heels of the define and rule as well as well as the divide and rule tactics of the colonialists. The classifications are constructed within the legacies of colonialism. This calls for new thinking and interrogation of the classification of Indigenous communities in Africa.
Another challenge to understanding Indigenous communities is the question of methodology. Following the colonial pattern of extraction of knowledge from the invisible others, the subjectivities of Indigenous communities have been decentered. In the context of the ongoing decolonization movements, co-creation of knowledge is required to centre the voices of Indigenous communities in Africa. In other words, a new methodological approach is required which allows knowledge generation among Indigenous peoples to be done in collaboration with them, rather than for them.
Experiences of Indigenous communities in settler and non-settler states are defined by different forms of social relations. While Africans are generally regarded as natives, those who are defined as Indigenous people suffered from double jeopardy through land dispossession and denial of access to the colonially created governance institutions. Curiously, the postcolonial state has continued this logic of otherness by subjugating and excluding the Indigenous communities. These intertied issues have implications for scholarship, voices and participation of Indigenous youths on policies of employment, career, entrepreneurship and governance.
Scholars are invited to submit papers on any of the following issues in preparation for a workshop being organized by the Institute of African Studies and Sprott School of Business, Carleton University as part of the African Knowledge, Natural Resource Governance and Innovation week holding at the University of Pretoria, South Africa from July 4-6, 2022. Scholars whose papers are accepted will become part of the African Research Network on Indigenous Communities
- Epistemology of Indigenous groups in Africa
- Knowledge generation and production in Indigenous communities
- Research methodology among Indigenous youth in Africa
- Indigenous communities and the problem of classification
- Indigenous communities in settler and non-settler colonial states
- Governance institutions in Indigenous communities
- Youth perspectives on entrepreneurship in Indigenous communities
Interested scholars should send an abstract of not less than 300 words to firstname.lastname@example.org by June 1, 2022. The workshop is planned as a hybrid. There may be some financial support for scholars whose abstracts are accepted.
Sprott School of Business, Carleton University