AbstractThe thesis “‘It is open, but not so open’ – gaining access to participation among Kabuli youths” is based on fieldwork done in Kabul, Afghanistan, from October 2003 until June 2004. Two years after the fall of the Taliban regime, Afghanistan had started its reconstruction process and many youths wanted to contribute in rebuilding their country. The youths in this thesis belongs to the urban middleclass, and they have all actively taken a step towards public participation, either social or political. The thesis will focus on the possibilities and constraints the youths meet. Looking into visions and aspirations of the youths will also be done in order to asses strategies employed for these to come true. This will be done through looking into three different social fields; how relations within the family can regulate the individual youth’s public participation, secondly Kabul University and different youth organisations where activities are conducted. Within the two last fields, Kabul University and youth organisation, it will be a focus on what kind of activities are conducted, between whom, the form they take and possible restrictions which lies within these social fields. One chapter concerns the diverging perceptions of what politics is, how these perceptions influence how politics is talked about, and the consequences this have for how youths relate to politics and political activities in particular. Secondly, the diverging perceptions of politics also extract different models of how politics, assess to it and codes of conduct, are apprehended. Being extracted from the political sphere, these models are also viable for the wider society as they impart values and premises on how relations should take form and the characteristics therein. Due to diverging perceptions on politics, participation will be used as an analytical tool to embrace what the youths’ themselves considers to be either social or political activities.
Taking the point of view from the young generation in Kabul, I hope the thesis can give a glimpse into the energy and eagerness to work towards a better future, despite a rather troubled past as victims of macro political circumstances.