Visually negotiating hegemonic discourse through Photovoice: Understanding youth representations of safety
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Despite the immense communicative potential of visual methodologies, surprisingly few community-based research studies have meaningfully considered participants’ visual meaning-making processes. When working with youth participants from contexts with which researchers are unfamiliar, the use of visual methodologies and analyses is able to transcend much of the developmental and cultural barriers to communication that are inherent in many linguistically focused research methods. By employing a visual discourse analysis on six photographs captured by Ethiopian youth in a Multi-Country Photovoice Project on youth representations of safety, this study aims to showcase the value of analysing participants’ use of ‘alternative’ visual discourses. It was found that participants drew predominantly on two discourses, Humanising Capital and Unity, both of which resisted a number of Western hegemonic discourses surrounding youth constructions of safety. Participants’ visual constructions served as a meaningful mode of communication, as well as a relevant approach to facilitating youth ownership of meaning-making processes within community-based research.