Going Home: Youth and Aspirations in Postconflict Marawi, Philippines

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It has been years but the reconstruction of Marawi leaves much to be desired. In 2017, a battle between the government and ISIL-affiliated elements destroyed the city. This article turns attention to the youth who have been affected by this conflict. In a postconfict context in which reconstruction has yet to be seen, do the youth aspire to anything? If so, what are their aspirations? Drawing on interviews, we argue that their main aspiration is to ‘go home’. We unpack it in two respects: transparent and people-centered reconstruction and the reassertion of Marawis Islamic identity. These aspirations are not only couched in a positive language. Underlying them is a critique of the state of affairs: technocratic but inefficient rehabilitation and the moral and religious condition of the community prior to the conflict. By foregrounding the role of aspirations, this article advances the scholarship on young people’s participation in postconflict settings.