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Politics and Community-based Research: Perspectives from Yeoville Studio, Johannesburg

Politics and Community-based Research: Perspectives from Yeoville Studio, Johannesburg

URI: https://library.oapen.org/handle/20.500.12657/51023
Keywords: Urban & municipal planning; Urban communities
DOI: 10.18772/22019103849
ISBN: 9781776143849, 9781776143856, 9781776143863, 9781776143870, 9781776143894
Publisher: Wits University Press
Publisher website: http://witspress.co.za/
Publication date and place: Johannesburg, 2019
Classification: Urban & municipal planning, Urban communities
Pages: 430
Edited By: Benit-Gbaffou, Claire; Charlton, Sarah; Didier, Sophie; Dörmann, Kirsten;


Politics and Community-Based Research: Perspectives from Yeoville Studio, Johannesburg provides a textured analysis of a contested urban space that will resonate with other contested urban spaces around the world and challenges researchers involved in such spaces to work in creative and politicised ways. This edited collection is built around the experiences of Yeoville Studio, a research initiative based at the School of Architecture and Planning at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. Through themed, illustrated stories of the people and places of Yeoville, the book presents a nuanced portrait of the vibrance and complexity of a post-apartheid, peri-central neighbourhood that has often been characterised as a ‘slum’ in Johannesburg. These narratives are interwoven with theoretical chapters by scholars from a diversity of disciplinary backgrounds, reflecting on the empirical experiences of the Studio and examining academic research processes. These chapters unpack the engagement of the Studio in Yeoville, including issues of trust, the need to align policy with lived realities and social needs, the political dimensions of the knowledge produced and the ways in which this knowledge was, and could be used.

This book is a new and courageous examination of the complexity of embedded research. It is an honest and insightful reflection that … challenges and deepens arguments around spaces of participation through theoretical reflection and, more centrally, through the actual experience of the embedded research of Yeoville Studio.
Tanya Zack, urban planner and writer, Johannesburg

This book is not only an exciting analysis of a mythical neighbourhood of Johannesburg and of informal lifestyle ’hoods and practices that are part of the metropolis fabric. It is also a powerful testimony to how research can become a political weapon when it is built in interaction and debate with communities’ voices.
Marie-Hélène Bacqué, professor, Urban Studies, Paris-Ouest-Nanterre University

We need more of this kind of engaging and meaningful community-based research. Yeoville Studio is a masterful study of ‘making the invisible visible’ in Johannesburg, openly discussing ethical challenges, memory and uncertainty. Through this humbling and exciting experience the contributors challenge the fundamentals of participatory research while illuminating informality.
Julie-Anne Boudreau, associate professor, Urbanisation Culture Société Research Centre, Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique, Montréal

This is a treasure, full of the voices, spaces and lives of residents of Yeoville, one of Johannesburg’s most diverse inner-city neighbourhoods. It is an exceptional collection of fresh insights – politically and intellectually rewarding explorations of what it means to do research in contested ‘communities’. A great resource for urbanists anywhere, this book offers very thoughtful reflections on the potential for researchers to instigate the engaged and embedded practices that so many urban contexts call for.
Jennifer Robinson, professor, Department of Geography, University College, London

Dedicated website for the book’s additional material – https://www.wits.ac.za/yeovillestudio/

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