Comparative Qualitative Research in Disadvantaged and Violent-Prone Urban Environments

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 11:30
Location: Hörsaal 30 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Sergio Henrique ROCHA FRANCO, University of Barcelona, Spain
This paper examines challenges enrolled in the deployment of qualitative research in urban contexts of the so-called global South.  In order to understand urban renewal and gentrification processes taking place in Rio de Janeiro’s favelas and Johannesburg’s black townships, I lived for around three months in Dobsonville, one of the black townships of Soweto, and about two months in Pavão-Pavãozinho, a favela located at the south zone of Rio de Janeiro. I also researched thru qualitative methodology (ethnography and in-deep interviews with favelas’ and townships’ inhabitants) how people actively shape space and their built environment in these historically marginalised territories. The fieldworks mentioned above took place between 2013 and 2015. For this paper, I discuss hardships and challenges related to the use of qualitative methodologies in disadvantaged and violent-prone urban environments. To this respect, I discuss how race issues and urban violence can play a decisive role in the deployment of qualitative research methods. I also consider suitable ways to find out linkages or contrasts between the two cases of study.