Linda C. Theron and Adam M. C. Theron

Resilience studies among majority and minority world inhabitants have shown that meaning making is a pathway to resilience. More recently, however, resilience researchers have urged deeper understanding of how context and culture inform processes (like meaning making) that encourage positive adaptation to hardship and suffering. Drawing on multiple case studies, including rich narrative and visual data, our chapter sheds light on how making positive meaning of poverty, and the suffering that is typically associated with indigence, encourages young Black South African adults to adjust positively to their difficult lives. More specifically, we focus on how their constructive meaning making is nuanced by Africentric cultural traditions and beliefs. The stories and drawings of these young Black South Africans illustrate how collectivist philosophy and kinship practices promote equanimity in the midst of suffering. Their stoical acceptance and simultaneous unwavering future orientation is rooted in profound respect for humanity (including their own), spirituality, and accounts (oral and written) of South Africans who survived suffering. These cultural resources encourage an interpretation of suffering that levies no blame (either at the self or others), that reframes hardship as temporary and manageable, and that attributes constructive rationales for suffering. Concurrently, these young people’s acceptance of the aforementioned cultural resources, and help-seeking transactions with their ecologies support their process of making positive meaning of suffering. Thus, we theorize that meaning making that promotes constructive adjustment to hardship, as a mechanism of resilience for Black South Africans battling poverty, is a dynamic, bi-directional process embedded in traditional culture.

Picturing Research

Drawing as Visual Methodology

Edited by Linda Theron, Ann Smith and Jean Stuart

Picturing research: drawing as visual methodology offers a timely analysis of the use of drawings in qualitative research. Drawing can be a method in itself, as in the research area of Visual Studies, and also one that complements the use of photography, video, and other visual methodologies. This edited volume is divided into two sections. The first section provides critical commentary on the use of drawings in social science research, addressing such issues of methodology as the politics of working with children and drawing, ethical issues in working with both adults and children, and some of the interpretive considerations. The second section, in its presentation of nine research-based case-studies, illustrates the richness of drawings. Each case study explores participatory research involving drawings that encourages social change, or illustrates participant resilience. These case studies also highlight the various genres of drawings including cartoons and storyboarding. The book draws on community-based research from a wide variety of contexts, most in South Africa, although it also includes work from Rwanda and Lesotho. Given the high rates of HIV&AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa, it should not be surprising that many of the chapters take up concerns such as the preparation of teachers and community health workers in the age of AIDS, and the experiences of orphans and vulnerable children. Moving further afield, this book also includes work done with immigrant populations in Canada, and with tribunals in Somalia and Australia.

Linda Theron, Claudia Mitchell, Ann Smith and Jean Stuart

Claudia Mitchell, Linda Theron, Ann Smith and Jean Stuart

Claudia Mitchell, Linda Theron, Ann Smith, Jean Stuart and Zachariah Campbell

Linda Theron, Claudia Mitchell, Ann Smith and Jean Stuart