Past the Kalashnikov: Youth, Politics and the State in Eritrea
Dorman, Sara Rich
The paper examines the politics of the National Union of Eritrean Youth and Students (NUEYS), University students, and National Service. It proposes that these cases provide a useful perspective from which to think critically about state-society relations in Eritrea. Like other post-liberation states Eritrea has faced two ‘transitional’ challenges: how to transform a colonized and war-stricken economy and how the former liberation movement should relate to the citizens of the new state. While Eritrea’s solutions have been similar to those of other newly independent African states, they have also had distinctive features. The goal of this paper is to consider the particular dynamics of Eritrean politics through an examination of the relationship between youth and the state, which is not merely typical of state-society relations, but constitutive of Eritrean identity and nationalism.