Researching with, not on: Using Photography in Researching Street Children in Accra, Ghana

Negotiating Boundaries and Borders

ISBN: 978-0-7623-1283-2, eISBN: 978-1-84950-395-2

ISSN: 1042-3192

Publication date: 15 March 2007


What is discussed in this chapter is work-in-progress, an opportunity for reflection upon elements of an on-going research project examining the lives of street children in Accra, Ghana. Street children have received much research in recent years but our project is, we believe, distinctive in two respects. The first of these is that access to reliable data on the growing presence of children on the streets of African cities is often problematic. Available research is often diffuse and hard to access, it is more often than not driven by the short-term requirements of specific programmes and interventions and as a consequence can be lacking in depth, rigour and innovation. Without the means to provide a sufficiently self-conscious and critical engagement with accepted understandings of the lives of street children, consideration of the experience of street children in Africa continues to rely heavily on the more capacious and better disseminated research from the Americas (e.g., Mickelson, 2000). At the very least, Africa's specific experience of large population displacements, diversity of family forms, rapid urbanisation, vigorous structural adjustment and internal conflict raise important questions about the appropriateness of such ready generalisations. Judith Ennew (2003, p. 4) is clear that caution is needed in an uncritical endorsement of the “globalisation of the street child based on Latin American work”. She is equally mindful, however, that as far as Africa is concerned the absence of reliable evidence continues to hinder debate.


Mizen, P. and Ofosu-Kusi, Y. (2007), "Researching with, not on: Using Photography in Researching Street Children in Accra, Ghana", Smith, M. (Ed.) Negotiating Boundaries and Borders (Studies in Qualitative Methodology, Vol. 8), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 57-81.

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