» Archive for: September, 2015


Becoming Fathers

Category: sexuality

29 Sep 2015

becoming a father

The website ‘reproductive journeys in Malawi‘ presents the main findings of a 4 year research project on ‘Becoming a father’ in an online exhibition format.

Whereas the bulk of research in the field of reproductive health and rights focuses on women, ‘Becoming fathers’ shifts the analytical spotlight to men. Its main objective was ‘to explore Malawian men’s aspirations and experiences of having children, particularly from the vantage point of men’s involvement in their own and their partner’s reproductive health’, with the aim of helping to ‘contextualise the reproductive health issues that people experience in Karonga District, a rural area in the north of Malawi, and facilitate sharing and learning from that information.’

To this end, a methodology centred around ‘reproductive life stories’ was employed involving 55 men and their female partners. The material this generated (both visual and interview material) is presented bilingually (Chitumbuka and English) in a very engaging online exhibition and structured around ten themes. It starts with the theme of ‘boyhood aspirations‘ and closes with ‘finishing “the programme”‘, which refers to sterilisation. Other interesting themes include ‘childlessness‘, ‘outside pregnancies‘, ‘becoming a father’, and many more. The combination of beautiful photographs, short quotes and expanded quotes works particularly well. It gives a good overview of the main findings whilst it also gives a sense of the qualitative richness of the material. For example, the quote introducing the ‘becoming a father’ theme reads: ‘even before the arrival of his first born, a man may become a father to younger siblings or cousins’.

Another interesting feature of the project’s website is the inclusion of some fieldnotes in the ‘About‘ section and a useful commentary on language and translation. The fieldnotes illustrate very powerfully the context in which the research must be understood. The research was conducted in Chitumbuka (the main language of northern Malawi), whilst in transcribing the data influences of the English (‘jenda’ for gender) and Chichewa (the national language) were noted. In addition, another interesting point is made on how in everyday speech the research participants have appropriated development and committee speak. The case in point is the phrase ‘the programme’, used to refer to sterilisation (mostly of women).

posted by Roy Huijsmans

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Thesis drafts presented in the current Research Paper Drafts seminars suggest we may expect some very strong theses in the field of Children, Youth and Development at the ISS.

The research draft paper seminar week is an important step in the MA in development studies programme at the ISS. Following course work, students work full-time on their research projects in July and August and present the first drafts of their thesis during seminars scheduled late September.

In the seminars, each MA student presents her work for 20 minutes followed by discussion by peers and faculty.

This is some of the interesting work-in-progress that was presented before the weekend:

-Gifty Fosuaa Nuamah Youth: ‘Mobile Phone: A Blessing or a Curse? A case of Kintampo District in Brong Ahafo, Ghana’

-Stephen Ucembe: ‘How do care leavers make meaning of leaving care in relationship to institutional care?’

-Michael Sambo: ‘Youth and social movements: The conflicting relations between youth and the state in Mozambique over the last ten years’

-Mahardhika Sjamsoeoed: ‘Negotiating a Third Space: The construction of young Dutch Muslim’s identities and their daily secular realities’

And this is what’s still in stock:

Kristel Avila: ‘Contesting ‘youth at risk’ discourses through soccer practicing? Explorative research on young male subjectivities of El Agustino, Lima, Peru.’

Sandra Dewi Arifiani: ‘The role of child forum as a space for child participation in Indonesia’

Maria Camila Pachebo Blel: ‘Choosing motherhood? Understanding the factors that influence young motherhood in low socioeconomic contexts in Colombia’

Okoth Maurice: ‘Citizenship and sense of belonging: The experiences of second generation Somali immigrant youths in Eastleigh neighbourhood’

and much more!

posted by Roy Huijsmans


International Institute of Social Studies

ISS is an international graduate school of policy-oriented critical social science. It brings together students and teachers from the Global South and the North in a European environment.