‘Who I Am Depends on Who I Am Talking To’

  • Elsa Oliveira
  • Jo Vearey


Many migrants in inner-city Johannesburg engage in unconventional livelihood activities, including the currently criminalized activity of sex work. This chapter draws on data collected from a study which applied a participatory visual methodology to work with migrant women who sell sex, and explored the suitability of this approach as a way to engage with a presumed ‘hard to reach’ urban population. Through exploring ways in which the participants chose to present themselves, we show that combining a participatory visual methodology with a more traditional qualitative research approach enables the experiences of migrant women sex workers to be documented. Participants actively choose to represent themselves differently depending on the intended audience. This raises important considerations for the analysis of qualitative data collected with marginalized—and criminalized—urban groups.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elsa Oliveira
    • 1
  • Jo Vearey
    • 1
  1. 1.African Centre for Migration & SocietyUniversity of the WitwatersrandJohannesburgSouth Africa

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