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January 19 , 2008

Youth Gangs and Street Children

Culture, Nurture and Masculinity in Ethiopia


The rapidly expanding population of youth gangs and street children is one of the most disturbing issues in many cities around the world. These children are perceived to be in a constant state of destitution, violence and vagrancy, and therefore must be a serious threat to society, needing heavy-handed intervention and 'tough love' from concerned adults to impose societal norms on them and turn them into responsible citizens. However, such norms are far from the lived reality of these children. The situation is further complicated by gender-based violence and masculinist ideologies found in the wider Ethiopian culture, which influence the proliferation of youth gangs. By focusing on gender as the defining element of these children's lives - as they describe it in their own words - this book offers a clear analysis of how the unequal and antagonistic gender relations that are tolerated and normalized by everyday school and family structures shape their lives at home and on the street.

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