Navigational capacities for southern youth in adverse contexts
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This essay identifies six navigational capacities or contextual formative abilities that young people in Southern contexts, and those who care about them, may find helpful to debate and nurture. These navigational capacities are the capacity (1) to act alone as an individual in a community; (2) to aspire beyond culturally bounded horizons without resorting to exit, apathy, or violent struggles; (3) to acquire a range of capitals that include money, networks, dignity, and a knowledge of the rules of the game; (4) to recognize and analyze the influence of social structures and policies on their lives; (5) to achieve open identities to ensure justice along multiple axes of oppression; and (6) to act collectively in pursuit of better lives for self and others. The idea of navigational capacities acknowledges that adversity, change, and movement are a constant feature of the landscape of youth in the Global South. Thus, developing flexible capacities 'rather than hard skills, rigid assets, or only adaptive resilience' is a more helpful goal for youth development. The essay describes these capacities, their theoretical foundations, and potential as a framework for practice and analysis in youth work and youth studies research in the Global South.