• Testing the “triple imperative”: A drama-based exploration of migrant children’s views

      Opfermann, Lena S.; University of Bedfordshire (Taylor & Francis, 2015-10-16)
      In an effort to address challenges associated with unaccompanied and undocumented migrant children in South Africa, civil society and academics have been using a rights-based approach that largely overlooks the children’s own perspectives. In response to this shortcoming, this study explored the views of migrant children living in Cape Town. By applying a drama-based methodology, the study aimed to follow calls for a “triple imperative” in forced migration studies. This imperative demands that research with so-called vulnerable groups should comply with enhanced ethics standards in order to produce policy relevant academic knowledge. The article develops two main arguments. First, the study has shown that many migrant children lack a stable reference person and therefore see themselves in charge of their own lives, yet that the lack of a legal document hinders them from fulfilling their responsibilities and pursue their goals. Following from this I argue that documenting migrant children not only fulfills the purpose of providing a legal right to stay, but also constitutes a form of stability and recognition of the children’s dig- nity. Secondly, I propose that drama-based research fulfills enhanced ethics standards, as it results in a form of “social reciprocity” that contributes to participants’ wellbe- ing. Since drama-based research also produces policy relevant results, I conclude that this methodology meets the “triple imperative.”