Current Institutional Affiliation
Senior Lecturer, Psychology, University of the Western Cape

Award Information

Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa: Doctoral Dissertation Completion Fellowship 2016
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Department of Psychology, University of the Western Cape
African youth constructions of safety: a multi-country Photovoice study

Youth voices have been marginalised in an understanding of safety and peace. Peacebuilding research and interventions seeking to engage youth as producers of knowledge and agents of change are critical in building community globally. Such efforts strive to position youth voice and action within a social justice framework;vital in societies experiencing prolonged oppression. In Africa, with its resource constrain and underdevelopment; various theoretical lenses and methodological tools have examined and supported youth participation in safety and peace related engagement. Photovoice, with roots in liberation psychology and participatory methodologies, has emerged as an instrumental method and orientation to youth activism directed at influencing change towards socially just ends. A multi-country study aims to explore youth representations of safety in marginalised communities in three African countries. It will utilise a visual methodology, viz. Photovoice for engendering critical consciousness; promoting safety among youth; stimulating social action and engendering a sense of community among marginalised oppressed young Africans. The study will locate conceptual tools, analytic skills and hardware, in the form of cameras, with participants. The forms of marginality facing youth at risk in contexts of violence, poverty and environmental neglect are complex. Purposive sampling of three groups, comprising 5 boys and 5 girls per country, matched for language and gender will be undertaken. The study will be conducted with the highest standards of ethical practice and integrity. Participants can withdraw from the study at any time without sanction. The study offers conceptual innovation that would expand understandings of the interplay between knowledge creation, meaning-making, social agency and community and community engagement. Its utility for critical community psychology and youth empowerment in situations of underdevelopment and conflict is global.