Community Health Workers as ‘cultural Producers’ in Addressing Gender-based Violence in Rural South Africa
N. de Lange1, C. Mitchell2
1Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, South Africa
2McGill University, C. Mitchell, Canada
Background: South Africa is experiencing an epidemic of gender-based violence (GBV), rendering women and girls vulnerable. In some communities health workers have positioned themselves at the forefront of addressing GBV. We frame the visual participatory work of a group of female community health workers as ‘cultural production’ (Bourdieu & Jackson, 1993) - shifting the subordination of women and girls and disrupting automatic transmission of cultural form across generations. We pose the question: How can community health workers create a space for social transformation in addressing GBV in a rural community? Method: This qualitative participatory study is positioned as critical research. Five female community health workers were conveniently selected from a clinic a rural district. We used photovoice and production of media posters to generate data. We offer a close reading of the visual data. Findings: Three themes: community health workers with insider cultural knowledge; community health workers as cultural producers; community health workers taking action. Discussion: Implications for health psychology in places where health issues are related to cultural reproduction.