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The frustrated generation youth exclusion in Arab Mediterranean societies

Publication Illustration
Backberg, Leonie. Tholen, Joche
Journal of Youth Studies
Year of Publication

In Arab Mediterranean countries (AMCs), insecurities and a lack of opportunities have continuously kept young people from becoming independent and being full, active, and integrated members of society; a process commonly referred to as social exclusion. This paper explores the driving factors of youth exclusion in Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, and Tunisia. It is argued that not only the extent but also the structure of social exclusion varies across countries.

Based on the social exclusion framework developed by the UNDP [2011. Beyond Transition – Towards Inclusive Societies. Bratislava: United Nations Development Programme], we construct a social exclusion index that takes economic, social, and political factors into account. The results obtained indicate that the share of young people suffering from social exclusion is highest in Tunisia (46.7%), followed by Algeria (43.4%), Egypt (42.1%), and Lebanon (33.2%).

In contrast to the prevailing assumptions on social exclusion, we find that economic exclusion does in fact play a minor role. The strongest driver of youth exclusion in all Arab Mediterranean countries is the exclusion from social and political life.