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

Award Information

Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa: Doctoral Dissertation Research Fellowship 2014
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Psychology, University of the Western Cape
African youth constructions of safety: A multi-country Photovoice study

The voices of youth have been largely 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. Such efforts strive to position youth voice and action within a social justice framework, vital in societies experiencing prolonged conflict and oppression. Particularly important in Africa, with its resource constrain and underdevelopment. Various theoretical lenses and methodological tools have been invoked to examine and support youth participation in safety and peace 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 is aimed at exploring youth constructions of safety in marginalised communities in three African countries; using a visual methodology, viz. Photovoice for raising critical consciousness; promoting safety among youth; stimulating social action and engendering a sense of community among marginalised young Africans. The study will locate conceptual tools, analytic skills and hardware, in the form of cameras, within participants' locus of power. The forms of marginality facing youth at risk in contexts of violence, poverty are multi-dimensional and complex. Purposive sampling of three groups, comprising 5 boys and 5 girls per country, matched for language and gender will be undertaken. The study adheres to the highest standards of ethical practice and integrity. Participants can withdraw from the study at any time without sanction. The study may offer conceptual innovation by expanding understandings of the interplay between knowledge creation, meaning-making, social agency and community engagement. Its utility for critical community and youth empowerment especially in situations of underdevelopment, war is global