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Interpreting family struggles in West Africa across Majority-Minority world boundaries: tensions and possibilities

Evans, R. (2020) Interpreting family struggles in West Africa across Majority-Minority world boundaries: tensions and possibilities. Gender, Place & Culture, 27 (5). pp. 717-732. ISSN 1360-0524

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/0966369x.2018.1553861


The 'family' is associated with powerful, often emotive discourses in both the Majority and Minority worlds. However, family geographies to date have been largely focused on research with children and families in the Minority world, reflecting the wider dominance of geographical knowledge and social science theories developed in affluent, Anglophone contexts. In this intervention, I reflect on the tensions in attempting to theorise family meanings, practices and struggles in West Africa without imposing Minority world framings and perspectives. In my research in urban Senegal, the team's approach of 'uncomfortable reflexivity' enabled us to have frank conversations about our own experiences of 'family' and the death of a significant person, about our differing emotional responses to participants' experiences and about the nuances of the language used. My collaborative research with Ghanaian academics highlights the importance of time and space to develop shared qualitative understandings of everyday family struggles for publication in international journals. Given global inequalities in social science knowledge production, an ethic of care is needed that seeks to collaborate reflexively with others across disciplinary, linguistic and Majority-Minority world boundaries. This endeavour will hopefully generate more nuanced insights into the plurality and diversity of everyday family lives globally, while recognising the commonalities we share, situating knowledge in place and approaching the 'global' from the Majority world.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Human Environments
Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Geography and Environmental Science
ID Code:84079
Uncontrolled Keywords:Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous), Cultural Studies, Demography, Gender Studies
Publisher:Taylor & Francis


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