Dissertation Abstracts

The Change of the Field of Youth Engagement and Development in the oPt: A comparison across three eras

Author: Musleh, Abeer , abmusleh@gmail.com
Department: Heller School for Social Policy and management
University: Brandeis University, USA
Supervisor: Carmen Sirianni
Year of completion: 2015
Language of dissertation: English

Keywords: Palestine , Youth , Engagement , Institutional Fields
Areas of Research: Social Movements, Collective Action and Social Change , Youth , Participation, Organizational Democracy and Self-Management


This research examines the changes that took place in the field of Youth Engagement and Development (YED) in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) in the period between the years of 1987-2011. It explores how changes in the political opportunity structures over the period of three historical periods impact on the actors within the field of YED in regard to position, strategies, resource mobilization and framing. The three historical periods under study are the First Intifada (1987-1992), the Post Oslo Period (1993-2000), and the Second Intifada and Division Era (2000-2011). Understanding the transformations in actors we can understand the framing of youth and their participation, and the socialization process of youth.
In this research I am looking at the field of YED from a meso level, in which I look at the interaction of actors, and how they change their strategies, alliances to sustain or improve their position in the field. To have a better understanding I am utilizing three theories: institutional field theory, political generations, and youth engagement to examine how and why the changes took place in the field of YED in the oPt.
This research utilizes comparative case study and institutional ethnography as research methods. In which I compare three types of organizations that worked with youth: first, Youth Association, a youth development organization which was established by political parties; second, Youth Right Activation, which is a youth development organizations established in the Post Oslo Period and focuses on journalism; and third, Engage, a youth led organization that was established by the UNDP. The three organizations founders present three different age cohorts of youth leaders. To understand the experience of the leaders’ experience, whether founders or later leaders, combined with examining the changes within each organization and its strategies to cope and resist the field challenges provides us with a perspective about the changes in the field of YED over the three periods under study.

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