Ambivalent Rage

Ambivalent Rage is a study on youth and urban protests in Conakry, Guinea by Joschka Philipps, a doctoral student at the Centre for African Studies Basel. Here, the author offers open access to his survey data, videos on Conakry’s youth, as well as a list of critiques and awards that the book has received so far.

About the book

Ambivalent rage investigates the world of youth gangs and politics in the West-African city of Conakry, Guinea. It asks two central questions: why are urban youth gangs such prominent actors in Guinea’s recent and contemporary political protests? And why do their riots and demonstrations occur in a certain neighborhood, right in the center of a capital city?

Answering these two puzzles, the book sheds light on how young men organize in gangs, how they perceive, confront and collaborate with the political elite and how this translates their precariousness into political instability. Using a variety of qualitative and quantitative data, the study tries to systematically carve out how young men’s socio-economic position and popular culture intersect with urban governance, ethnicity and class differentiation to produce the violent protests that have shaken the Guinean capital since 2007. While concentrating on the Guinean case, Africanist political scientist Crawford Young emphasizes that this “invaluable work is of comparative application to many large African cities.”

In 2012, the study won the Junior Researcher Award of the German Association for African Studies (VAD). The German National Academic Foundation funded field research in 2009 and 2010. The German Embassy in Conakry, Guinea financially supported the translation into French.


Title: Ambivalent Rage. Youth Gangs and Urban Protest in Conakry, Guinea

Author: Joschka Philipps

Publisher: L’Harmattan Guinée (Paris)

Publishing Date: 07/2013

French version also available


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