Hannah Dawson

Hannah Dawson

DPhil Student, Social and Cultural Anthropology

Corpus Christi College

Thesis: 'We are not free': contesting meanings of youth, work and citizenship in urban South Africa (working title)

Research Associate in the Chair in Social Change, University of Johannesburg
Research Associate at the Society, Work and Development Institute (SWOP), Wits University

Research: Hannah Dawson’s research, through an ethnographic account of an informal settlement on the periphery of Johannesburg, explores the interplay of young people’s changing economic lives and contemporary subjectivities, social relations and aspirations. The thesis explores the economic and social strategies and arrangements of young men in a context of unemployment, economic uncertainty and widening social inequalities. By examining young men’s everyday realities, choices and interpretations of their lives and those around them the thesis explores how young men actively negotiate different, and often divergent, moral discourses and frameworks that operate at different scales, times and within distinct social groups. By paying attention to young people’s explanations, justifications and moral concepts we gain access to the factors shaping their decisions and choices and the conflicts they generate.

Research interests: South African history and politics; economic anthropology; contemporary capitalism; precarious labour; urban poverty; social theory; ethnographic writing and public anthropology.

Selected publications/presentations
Dawson, H., (2013), HIV/AIDS, the erosion of social capital and the collapse of rural livelihoods in the Nkomazi district of South AfricaAfrican Journal of AIDS Research.

Dawson, H., (2014), Youth politics: waiting and envy in a South African informal settlementJournal of Southern African Studies.

Dawson, H., (2014), Patronage from below: political unrest in an informal settlement in South AfricaAfrican Affairs.  

Dawson, H., (2016), Making a living on the urban periphery: Are young people ‘waiting’ for work or ‘hustling’ to get by? Presented at the AEGIS Summer School: Urban Africa – Urban Africans: Emergent Spaces and Multiple Representations21-25 June 2016, Cagliari, Sardinia.

Dawson, H. with Fouksman, E., (2016), "Don't give money to the lazy": The moral functions of wage labour and the rejection of cash transfers, from above and below, in South Africa. Presented at Development Studies Association conference, 12-14 September 2016, Oxford University.

Dawson, H., (2016), The contradictions, ambiguities and ethical dilemmas of being a young man in contemporary South Africa. Presented at the Nordic Africa Institute Conference, 22-24 September 2016, Uppsala, Sweden.

Email: hannah.dawson@anthro.ox.ac.uk

Hannah is supervised by Dr David Pratten and Dr Johnny Steinberg.

List of site pages