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date: 02 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores the meanings of “youth” and associated politics of masculinity in Kenya from the perspectives of young and poor men in urban settlements. Specifically, the chapter investigates how the idea of “junior manhood” is connected with efforts to become “men” by providing for loved ones in a context of gross inequality, limited opportunities, and high expectations. Using the example of Mathare in Nairobi, the chapter reveals how young and poor men—who try to live up to a social ideal of men as providers through non-criminal and non-violent means—often fail to gain respect and attain a higher social status, and sometimes adopt more violent socio-economic strategies. The analysis provides important insights into generational, class, and gender relations and how these connect to political mobilization, security, and violence.

Keywords: Nairobi, youth, masculinity, security, Mathare, gender, violence

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