Yo, yo, yo ... an epic for academics on research as a political weapon

29 October 2019 - 11:45
'Politics and Community-Based Research: Perspectives from Yeoville Studio, Johannesburg'.
'Politics and Community-Based Research: Perspectives from Yeoville Studio, Johannesburg'.
Image: Wits Press

This book is not only an exciting analysis of a mythical neighbourhood in 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

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. It 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 postapartheid, peri-central neighbourhood that has often been characterised as a “slum” in Johannesburg.

These narratives are interwoven with theoretical chapters by scholars from diverse disciplinary backgrounds, reflecting on the empirical experiences of the studio and examining academic research processes.

The chapters unpack the engagement of the studio, 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.