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11 - Agency In And From The Margins: Street Children And Youth In N'Djaména, Chad

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Chapter Summary

This chapter investigates whether and how street children act out their agency in situations where they are defined as being in the (poor) margins of society. It also shows how the children and youth living on the streets of N’djaména create a living in the margins of the state, within the structural constraints of the politics and economy of Chadian society. The so-called margins have become the centre of their lives. The chapter explores how the creation of the dichotomy margin-centre, a-normal-normal negotiates normality for the urban middle classes, including NGO personnel, who justify their position in society through the creation of the street children as a mirror image. The number of inhabitants in N’djaména has increased rapidly over the last fifty years from about 90,000 in 1960 to 800,000 in the mid-1990s. The sites where the children and youth live are often near NGO buildings.

Keywords: Chadian society; N’djaména; N’djaména's street children; NGO personnel



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