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A look into the meaning of “work” in children’s and adolescent’s lives in urban Bolivia. An audio-visual ethnography and the impossibilities of picturing the other’s reality

Author Léa KLAUE
Director of thesis Michaela Schäuble
Co-director of thesis
Summary of thesis

In Bolivia, child labour is not only omnipresent, but it is also anchored in cultural roots. The starting point of this research are the working children’s organizations, who represent and defend the voice of this large but invisible group.

Through observation, video workshops, interviews and mixed methods, I attempt to create a picture of the life realities of young people who had to start lucrative activities at an age Western understanding of childhood qualifies as too early.

Child and youth worker’s lives are observed and analyzed but the external gaze upon it is also questioned: Eurocentric and Western discourses on “child labour” but also my own gaze as a researcher, videographer and Westerner. The latter is being described thickly, enumerating the ways, challenges and failures encountered while trying to uncover people’s life realities using audiovisual tools.

This project is part of the SNF-funded research project “Research Video” at ZHdK. “Research Video” aims to explore the use of video in practice-based research and to develop a tool for publication of research results via audiovisual material and video-annotation.

From the research material, a series of videos will emerge, exploring the terms childhood and work and navigating between reality, fiction and performance.

Status finished
Administrative delay for the defence 2023