Semester: Wintersemester 2014/2015

3.90.150 Exploring Migration, Urbanisation and Health in Southern Africa (Dr. Jo Vearey)


  • Di., 25.11.2014, 09:00 - 13:00
  • Mi., 26.11.2014, 09:00 - 13:00


EMMIR workshop open to students from other MA courses
Carried out by Dr. Jo Vearey (University of the Witwatersrand)

Tuesday, 25 November, 9-13h
Wednesday, 26 November, 9-13h


This workshop will explore the linkages between migration, urbanisation and health in southern Africa and consider critical concerns relating to methods, ethics and action when working with diverse urban groups residing in complex urban spaces. The southern African region has a history of diverse population movements and a prevalence of communicable diseases, including tuberculosis and HIV. However, responses to migration and health are currently lacking. Migration is good for development but migration is rarely managed in a healthy way. The workshop aims to (1) provide participants with an insight into the state of migration, urbanisation and health in the southern African region, and (2) expose participants to the complexities, methodological and ethical concerns involved in developing, conducting and reporting research that may expose “hidden populations” in the city, including undocumented migrants and migrants involved in irregular (illegal) livelihood activities such as sex work or street trading. Situated within a context of strong anti-foreigner sentiment, a high communicable disease burden, and pressure on urban space, the City of Johannesburg provides a valuable case study for exploring the challenges associated with researching and responding to migration and health in the city. The workshop will consist of two four-hour sessions.

Guiding questions:
• What are the linkages between migration, health and urbanisation in southern Africa?
• Why is an insight into and understanding of migration, health and urbanisation in the southern Africa region necessary?
• How do diverse urban migrant groups – including refugees, asylum seekers and undocumented migrants - navigate cities?
• How can we conduct ethical research with marginalised populations - such as undocumented migrants or migrant sex workers - in complex urban spaces?
• What are the benefits and limitations of participatory visual research methods in overcoming these challenges?

Day 1: Exploring Migration, urbanisation and health in Southern Africa: an introduction to Johannesburg, the City of Gold
The first session will explore what we know about migration, urbanisation and health in southern Africa. Starting with an overview of global trends associated with migration, urban growth and health, the session will move to the southern African region. With a focus on Johannesburg – considered to be the most unequal city globally – and drawing on a range of empirical data – both quantitative and qualitative – that explores the lived experiences of diverse migrant groups, challenges for urban governance will be considered. By the end of the first session, participants will have an understanding of the particular challenges migration, urbanisation and health raise and begin to question ways in which complex urban spaces can be understood and governed. A group work exercise will allow participants to engage in developing approaches to case studies from Johannesburg. In this first session, participants will:
• Unpack the linkages between migration, urbanisation and health
• Explore why these are critical concerns for the southern African region
• Consider existing responses and think through suggestions for action
• Engage with the challenges of urban governance in Johannesburg

Day 2: Hidden spaces in the City of Gold: methods, ethics and action
The second session will explore participatory visual methods and consider whether such an approach helps or hinders in attempts to engage ethically with responding to the health and migration needs associated with complex urban spaces. This session will involve group work sessions where participants will work with images produced in research projects in Johannesburg. This session will allow participants to:
• Critically discuss participatory visual methods and their application
• Explore and analyse visual data
• Provide recommendations for engaging with complex urban spaces in an ethical way

Day 1
Lurie, M. and Williams, B. (2014) Migration and health in Southern Africa: 100 years and still circulating Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicine 2:1 34-40
Vearey, J. (2014 – in press) Healthy migration: A public health and development imperative for south(ern) Africa South African Medical Journal October 2014

Day 2
Berghold and Thomas (20120 Participatory Research Methods: A Methodological Approach in Motion Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research 13:1
Vearey, J. (2010) Hidden spaces and urban health: exploring the tactics of rural migrants navigating the City of Gold Urban Forum 21 37 – 53

Additional readings/supplementary readings
Gushulak, B. and D. W. MacPherson (2006) The basic principles of migration health: Population mobility and gaps in disease prevalence Emerging Themes in Epidemiology 3(3): doi:10.1186/1742-7622-1183-1183
Sargent, C. and Larchanche, S. (2011) Transnational Migration and Global Health: The Production and Management of Risk, Illness, and Access to Care Annu. Rev. Anthropol. 40 345–61
Urquia, M. and Gagnon, A. (2011) Glossary: migration and health J Epidemiol Community Health 65 467-472. doi:10.1136/jech.2010.109405
Vearey, J., Oliveira, E., Madzimure, T. and Ntini, B. (2011) Working the City: experiences of migrant women in inner-city Johannesburg African Media and Diversity Journal 9 228 – 233
Zimmerman C, Kiss L, Hossain M (2011) Migration and Health: A Framework for 21st Century Policy-Making. PLoS Med 8(5)



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