Accepted Paper:

Place Identification of the Youth living in a Slum in Nairobi/Kenya - The Potential of Hermeneutic Photography for visualizing Everyday Life in a Context of Urban Informality   


Andreas Eberth (Leibniz University of Hanover)

Paper short abstract:

The paper focusses on aspects of the everyday life of the youth living in the informal settlement Korogocho in Nairobi, Kenya. Special focus is about the way how they are working in and with the informal economy.

Paper long abstract:

The presentation focuses on results of interviews with 19 groups of young people, aged between 15-24. All of them were born and raised in Korogocho, one of Nairobi's informal settlements. Due to their place identification the youth started different bottom-up activities for transforming Korogocho and create better urban conditions. Using hermeneutic photography as research method, the study from 2014/2015 shows how the test groups in Korogocho identify with this place as their home.

In this study the task for the groups was to take three photos of situations or places which were important and meaningful in their everyday life. After they had chosen their motives they communicated their reflections about the meaning they allocated to them. The outcome shows community awareness creating an atmosphere of responsibility and caring for self empowerment contributing to community development in a surrounding of urban informality.

Based on the geographical concepts Space and Place as theoretical frame the presentation shows selected pictures and interview sequences of the data analysis and discusses the potential of this research approach. How to use pictures in a critical way and with regard to changing perspectives is the leading question for discussing self-reflexive geographies in this context. Furthermore, the results may also contribute to think about different and differentiated images about 'Africa', and life in slums which is often stigmatised as hardship and poverty in a marginalized place.

Panel P106
Respatializing informality in urban Africa