“Children also have rights, but then who wants to listen to our rights?” Children’s Perspectives on Living with Community Violence in South Africa

Jenny Parkes


This paper presents the research design and shares some of the early findings of a qualitative study of the social worlds of children living with community violence in Cape Town. It shows how children in a community with high levels of violence actively construct ‘rules’ which help them to make sense of and resist that violence. With roots in history, experience and social relationships, the rules are fluid, sometimes contradictory, and they can be adjusted and reconciled. Paradoxically, they can serve both to resist and perpetuate the violence in children’s worlds. The same rules can help to make sense of roughness and fighting in the playground and conflict and aggression in the community. But in contexts of extreme violence, the rules are challenged and some possible consequences are explored, together with the implications for violence prevention.

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ISSN 2049-9558
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