Social network interviewing as an emancipatory southern methodological innovation
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This essay offers an example of a new methodology developed by Southern scholars in the Global South that takes seriously the aim of emancipation: research that attempts to include and benefit those who participate. Called Social Network Interviewing, the method draws on participatory action research as well as theories of social capitals in order to offer a scaffolded series of questions with which young people can engage with their networks about an issue of interest or concern for both. Drawing on three research studies in which it was used, the eight stages of Social Network Interviewing are described, which include selecting appropriate members of social networks to interview, formulating the topic for investigation, and developing questions collaboratively while aligning them to a conceptual framework. These questions include discussing current scripts and norms circulating within social networks, interrogating contexts for barriers and enablers of action, self-reflection and critique of current behaviors, differentiating between individual and collective action, developing strategies for social and systemic change, and enlarging supportive networks.