Final Remarks


In accordance with our methodological approach, the SAHWA Project understands the cartography as an open and dialogic mode of social investigation that thus resists easy codification. Consequently, the focus of this series of maps is on the different dimensions of everyday life, spaces and times of young people in the region. But cartography as a technique of spatial representation of geographical phenomena over the earth surface has some limitations: a) mapping two-dimensional representations of a three-dimensional reality; b) the difficulty representing dynamic features such as tidal limits; c) the problem of the fixed scale of representation and generalisation; and d) the difficulty representing temporal information. However, the newly-emerged technologies of geographical information, or, in other words, Geographical Information Systems (GIS), provides several solutions: GIS-based cartography allows us to map qualitative data, one of the most important problems traditional cartography has been unable to resolve during its history. Indeed, the practice of mapping qualitative data is very fuzzy, as qualitative spatial information is hard to define precisely, just as it is hard to list all those attributes which make one location different from another, being aware that they cannot be well represented using conventional cartographic techniques. These limitations have been considered during the process of building the SAHWA Cartography of Change as a type of description of practical activity and values, norms, lifestyles and changes of young people in the region.

Moreover, the emergence of socio-spatial dimensions to articulate informal innovative youth practices has empirical evidence in the SAHWA Youth Survey and Ethnographic Fieldwork. In North African youth cultures, the market, the coffee shop and, simply, the street are central spaces for youth agency. In the twenty-first century context of rapid social transformation, which has brought new economic, social and cultural developments for young people to contend with, the old social practices grounded in the space are reworked. These series of maps are trying to construct a phenomenology of perceptions and self-perceptions, representations and self-presentations and agencies coming from qualitative and quantitative data collected during the SAHWA fieldwork. This is a double hermeneutics. It supposes a grade of considerable complexity, since your connection is not merely unique; there is a continuous “slippage” of concepts built in sociology, in which appropriate them individuals for analysing whose conduct were originally coined, and therefore tend to become integral features of this behaviour. This epistemological perspective facilitates the understanding of human behaviour from the reference frame itself who acts.

Finally, we would like to acknowledge the contribution of all the members of the national ethnographic fieldwork teams for their engagement in this project, which has permitted us to collect extraordinary and valuable qualitative data working with the youth of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt and Lebanon. Moreover, we would like to acknowledge the work of the CIDOB team coordinating the process of achieving the objective of surveying 10,000 youths in the region in cooperation with the project’s Arab partners. And, finally, we would like to thank all the members of the SAHWA Project team for the depth and richness of the scientific and technical discussions. Without them this cartographic description of the current situation of the young people of the region would have been impossible to write.

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