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The 2005 session of the Institute will explore Music and Sports in the Making of Child and Youth Identities in Contemporary Africa to reflect on the power of mobilisation and expression that music and sports convey and the increasingly important place they occupy in the lives and outlook of the younger members of society. Furthermore, personal and collective immersion in music and sports has, perhaps more than ever before, become both a coping mechanism in the face of local/global adversity and an empowerment strategy for dealing with such adversities. Some even suggest that music and sports have come to play an important role in liberating the youth in an era characterised by widespread disillusionment and alienation. The emergence of the global television – and its round-the-clock, dedicated musical and sport programming – mobile telephony, and the internet has facilitated the growth of new local and global youth cultural communities around music and sports that are fed into the making and re-making of child and youth identities, including dress, dance, and language forms. New civic identities are emerging which carry varying implications for traditional modes of mobilisation of the youth as citizens of specific nation-states; they are also directly impacting on family strategies for the development of the careers of their children and the preferences which children set out for their own post-school professional livelihood. The huge commercial opportunities offered by the growing youth market in music and sports have resulted in the emergence of different corporate strategies for exploiting and expanding the market; corporations have also taken a frontline role in shaping youth tastes in music and sports, as well as the associated paraphernalia, in a trend which has revived discussions about cultural imperialism and the erosion of local musical genres and sports. Through the theme of the 2005 session, participants in the Institute are being invited to undertake a critical assessment of the different dimensions of the interface between music, sports and child and youth identities. Participants will be encouraged to review the relevant literature that is emerging on the subject; analyse the empirical evidence which is available both from their own field work and other sources; construct conceptual, theoretical, and methodological tools that could help to deepen knowledge, as well as advance debate; and consider the challenges for further research which arise from their scholarly interventions. For this purpose, the resources of the CODESRIA documentation and information centre (CODICE) and the expertise of a team of experienced resource persons will be made available to the participants in the Institute.
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