Youth and Violence in Praia, Cape Verde

From 2010 to 2013 my research focused on youth crime and violence in Cape Verde, and on the measures the government has implemented to deal with these issues. Building on ethnographic research I am carrying out with young delinquents exploring the cultural meanings of violence, and coupling these data with an analysis of the evolution of crime policies, my research draws on the theoretical framework of the critical anthropology of security pinpointing the articulation between local policies and the influence of an international agenda that increasingly prioritizes the areas of security, criminality and drug trafficking. Since Cape Verde turned into one of the transit points for cocaine trafficking and illegal emigration from West Africa to the European Union, issues of internal security have overlapped with issues of international security, challenging our common understanding of state powers and interests. It has been suggested that the features of the new global governance tend to blur issues of development and security; Cape Verde is in this sense an example of what has been called the ‘securitization of development’, a process that altered the way resources are allocated by Western donors, consequently transforming African politics and policy making in relevant ways.