Youth Voice Journal (YVJ™) is the world's leading peer-reviewed journal publishing theoretical contributions and empirical studies on international issues affecting young people and youth work. YVJ™ is published by RJ4All Publications and is ranked and indexed by Scopus, ORCID, Kudos, Criminal Justice Abstracts, EBSCO and ERIH PLUS.

Kathrin Oester & Bernadette Brunner (2019) Negotiating Urban Futures – Performance Ethnography as a Method of Youth Research Inspired by Jean Rouch


This article was written for the Youth Voice Journal’s 2019 Special Issue ‘Youth Doing Politics’ It’s available here as a standalone article. You can also purchase the full special issue here.

This paper examines negotiation of urban futures by youth in a transnationalised district of Berne, Switzerland. Adapting Jean Rouch’s concept of shared anthropology, which he developed with migrant workers in West Africa, we were able to gain access to the life-worlds of youth by providing them with video cameras and microphones to produce short films about their everyday lives. The paper firstly discusses Rouch’s participatory approach as an early form of performance ethnography, and then describes how the ‘sharing of anthropology’ became crucial to our own project. Part three is dedicated to the videos our research partners, aged between 14 and 17, produced as ethnographers of their life-worlds. Among what amounts to more than fifty videos, some of them show peer-activism that contests inequality, injustice, exclusion and the pressure of assimilation. Further, we learn the youths’ ideas of what makes ‘the good city’. Part four examines how we learned to conceptualise representation as a Mauss’ian exchange relationship in which reciprocity plays a major role. The final section of this paper discusses
how performance ethnography creates a space for critical thinking and peer-activism in our project.

Keywords: youth studies, performance ethnography, Jean Rouch, shared anthropology, visual anthropology

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This entry was posted on January 15, 2020 by in Citizenship.

ISSN: 2056-2969

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RJ4All Publications is a non-profit independent, publisher that was founded by Dr. Theo Gavrielides. It specialises in social sciences and research studies, has a  restorative justice series and is the publisher of the peer reviewed Youth Voice Journal.  


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