Disrupting Socio-cultural Archetypes: Exploring the relational transformation of identities between young women and men at a South African University
Gender Reconciliation Research Project, University of the Free State
Samantha van Schalkwyk & Lerato Sekonyela
The Gender Reconciliation Research Project, âDisrupting socio-cultural archetypes: Exploring the relational transformation of identities between young men and women at a South African Universityâ is to be launched in April 2015 at the University of the Free State. The research project was initiated by Trauma, Forgiveness & Reconciliation Studies & Gender Reconciliation International, and the principle researchers are Dr. Samantha van Schalkwyk, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of the Free State, and PhD student, Mrs. Lerato Sekonyela
Our research is situated within the current context of increasing rates of gender-based violence and dysfunctional gender relations at Universities in South Africa and the negative impact which such relationsÂ have on the quality of life of both male and female students. We aim to move beyond Westernised understandings of individual agency towards an understanding of agency that is more collectively orientated and may be more appropriate to the African socio-spatial landscape.
Drawing on Davies & Gannonâs (2006) Collective Biography Methodology, we explore the dynamics of gender transformation that is initiated by three day Gender Reconciliation workshops held with male and female university students, with a specific focus on the ways in which gendered transformation occurs in relation to the âOtherâ. We will do this by paying close attention to the significant moments of connection between women and men and the psychological processes that are at play throughout these collective engagements. This research will provide insight into the process of collective identity transformation and significant moments of healing that emerge throughout the Gender Reconciliation process. We also hope to glean insights that can inform a gender transformative model that can be applied to youth healing work in South Africa.