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Treiber, Magnus ORCID: 0000-0002-8347-2972 (8. October 2021): Tentative lifeworlds in Art Deco. Young people’s milieus in postwar Asmara, Eritrea, 2001–2005. In: Journal of Eastern African Studies
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Abstract

After the end of the Ethiopian-Eritrean border war (1998–2000) life resumed in Asmara, where the young generation flocked to cafés, bars and nightclubs after work or study. During my ethnographic fieldwork (2001–2005) I identified three larger social milieus that pursued and staged their own ideas of a good life: the chic, the shabby and the pious. Until the ‘political spring’ of summer 2001, young people looked forward to building up promising life careers inside the country. Eritrea needed young professionals more than ever before, and not everyone had fallen out with Eritrea’s guerrilla government. 2001s clampdown quickly changed future prospects for individuals, families and for society as a whole. In the different milieus’ meeting places, these events were well observed and cautiously discussed. Social life went on, but from now on performed visions of a good life became unreachable in real life. Migration appeared as the only answer. An existential view of selected protagonists and ethnographic sketches from the early 2000s will help to re-interpret the youth life-worlds of Asmara’s recent past in a regional history of ongoing violence.