Dr Adam Leon Cooper
Dr Adam Cooper is a Senior Research Specialist in the Education and Livelihoods theme of the Inclusive Economic Development (IED) programme of the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC). His work is at the intersection of the Sociologies of Education and Youth, looking at how young people navigate various social challenges shaped by race, class, gender, age, language and spatial relations, amongst others, to create opportunities for themselves and others.
His current research interests include youth and the future of work on the African continent, the role of education in social mobility and how the ideas that excite marginalised young South Africans can be used to create educational and work-related opportunities for empowerment. He is a co-editor of the Oxford University Press Handbook of Global South Youth Studies and is co-editing a special issue of the journal Social Dynamics on young people and work. He is on the editorial board of the Journal of Education.
Before taking up the post at the HSRC he was a National Research Foundation of South Africa postdoctoral scholar abroad, based at the Graduate Center at the City University of New York. His PhD research was funded through a split-site Commonwealth scholarship in the department of Education Policy Studies at Stellenbosch University and the Faculty of Education at the University of Cambridge, UK. The study was a multisite linguistic ethnography exploring different formal and informal educational places in one low-income Cape Town community. The research from his thesis was published as a Routledge monograph in 2017.
Adam has published peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters related to youth in South Africa, including pieces on critical pedagogy, language, gangs and masculinities of young men awaiting trial, a photovoice project conducted during the 2010 football world cup and research on a HIV/AIDS co-constructed curriculum project conducted with teachers at South African schools.
Prior to working fulltime on the completion of his PhD, Adam was a researcher for the Extra Mural Education Project, a Cape Town based NGO that used extra-murals in partnership with schools, attempting to transform schools into developmental hubs for their communities.
A multidimensional understanding of wellbeing to address poverty and inequality in South Africa: A historical, methodological and practical approach