Researching Race, Space and Masculinities in Bishop Lavis: A Critical Ethnographic Study

Doctoral Thesis


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Research done on ‘coloured' men and communities have problematized ‘coloured' masculinities and communities. Studies showed ‘coloured' men to be the most likely to perpetrate violence and rape. These studies further suggest that violence, drug abuse, gangsterism and alcoholism are a prominent feature of ‘coloured' communities, one such community being Bishop Lavis. Such narratives have led to this complex group of people and their communities being reduced to negative stereotypes. This research aimed to showcase more holistic and alternative narratives on Bishop Lavis, its community and ‘coloured' identities through a critical ethnographic methodology. Multiple methods to collect the data was utilised, namely narrative interviews with eight community stakeholders and six older men (aged 35 and above). Additionally, a Photovoice method was used with six men (aged 18 to 34), where a focus group, individual narrative interviews, and visual (photographs) and narrative data were collected. The data was analysed using multiple theoretical frameworks and data analysis tools to highlight the complexities of the participant's lived experiences. The results found that participants used their talk to challenge dominant narratives that exist on ‘coloured' men and communities and confirm and reproduce stigmatised narratives . Furthermore, it was found that race, location, gender, class and other identities intersected to produce particular experiences for the participants.