Producing Marginalization: School Dropouts and Social Exclusion among Youth in Tunisian Border Areas

Does marginalisation stem from the "unintended" side effects of development processes? Or is the cultural-social-political production of this phenomenon inherent to some of these same policies? This research attempts to answer this question by studying a border area in northwest Tunisia. This study is based on official statistics and recent field research. The results showed that the commitment of young people to school is strongly influenced by the parents' efforts for their children’s success, but also by the role of education in achieving upward social mobility as it had been in the past. The majority of young people dropping out of school leads to social isolation, lack of economic activity, or involvement in the informal economy, a policy that in itself produces vulnerable living conditions and uncertainties.

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Abstract

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Does marginalisation stem from the "unintended" side effects of development processes? Or is the cultural-social-political production of this phenomenon inherent to some of these same policies? This research attempts to answer this question by studying a border area in northwest Tunisia. This study is based on official statistics and recent field research. The results showed that the commitment of young people to school is strongly influenced by the parents' efforts for their children’s success, but also by the role of education in achieving upward social mobility as it had been in the past. The majority of young people dropping out of school leads to social isolation, lack of economic activity, or involvement in the informal economy, a policy that in itself produces vulnerable living conditions and uncertainties.

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