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Scott Burnett

CRITICAL APPROACHES TO RACE AND PLACE

Scott Burnett is a veteran of public health campaigns in South Africa who now investigates the construction and repair of racial hierarchies privileging whiteness in spatial and environmentalist discourse, through a decolonial and post-Marxist lens. His doctoral thesis, entitled “Giving back the land: Whiteness and belonging in contemporary South Africa” was completed in 2018. His work has been published in leading journals such as ACME: an International Journal for Critical Geographies, Discourse, Context & Media, and the African Journal of Employee Relations.

Background

Most of my career so far has been in the social change sector in South Africa. For over a decade, I worked on various aspects of the youth leadership and healthy lifestyles campaign, loveLife, which at its peak was the world's largest HIV prevention programme for young people. Our approach was to combine a high powered multimedia campaign with on-going national brand activation and youth development in hundreds of communities and thousands of clinics and schools nationwide. While at loveLife I worked on programme design and management, campaign design and development, the monitoring and evaluation of communications programmes, and before leaving I was the EXCO member responsible for strategy. My interest in race and racial structure arose from loveLife's structural critique of South African society: that problems such as HIV are enmeshed in a system of inequalities that demand deep social change in South Africa. I completed a Masters in Philosophy and Public Policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science in 2008, and my doctorate at the University of the Witwatersrand in 2018. I have a research affiliation at the Wits Centre for Diversity Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.

Area of Research

I am interested in a wide variety of approaches to language, communication, and discourse; my ongoing preoccupation is the discourse-structure dialectic, and its implications for social change. The topic I am currently investigating is the way in which talking about space - places, countries, the land, the environment, sustainability - constitute "boundary work" that includes/excludes people along racial lines. I have also explored this question in connection to the co-construction (intersections) of race, gender, and sexuality. Specific research interests that I am exploring include:

  • The role of land ownership in debates about sustainability and energy policy in Sweden and South Africa;
  • The creation of "ethnoscapes" in environmentalist discourse;
  • Qualitative analysis of large corpora of social media texts to analyse national and international trends in far right discourse

Teaching

I am responsible for the practical components of the Masters and Bachelors programmes at the ISK, which means ensuring that all students have a productive and pedagogically structured work experience in real strategic communication settings around the world as part of their degree. I am also involved in teaching courses on qualitative research methodologies, monitoring and evaluation of communication, visual communication, intercultural communication, and project management in digital environments.

Research projects and networks

  • I am the principal investigator on a sub-grant of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (United Kingdom) funded Changing the Story programme. Our particular project amplifies the voices of young South Africans telling the stories of the central Karoo region of the country. Between 10 and 20 young adults from Graaff-Reinet will be recruited into a “co-creator collective” (CCC). The CCC will use the video equipment and training provided by the project to source, film, edit, and analyse community stories about the land and its stewards in order to produce digital media, theatrical performance, and research outputs that form part of a new youth-led environmental justice activist programme under the aegis of the local #BanFracking campaign of the Support Centre for Land Change (SCLC) and in partnership with the existing youth group “Youth-in-Power” in Graaff-Reinet.
  • I am a committee member of the VitKrit research network at the University of Gothenburg's Faculty of Humanities, which aims to pursue critical race and critical whiteness studies through a decolonial lens, and from a humanities perspective. We organise regular research and reading seminars, as well as guest lectures.

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Sidansvarig:
Scott Burnett ISK
E-post: scott [dot] burnett [at] isk [dot] lu [dot] se

Lärare

Institutionen för strategisk kommunikation

C361 - Campus Helsingborg

Institutionen för strategisk kommunikation
Lunds Universitet | Campus Helsingborg
Besök: Universitetsplatsen 2 Helsingborg
Postadress: Box 882, 251 08 Helsingborg
Telefon:
 042-35 65 95
E-post: info [at] isk [dot] lu [dot] se

Samhällsvetenskapliga fakulteten | Campus Helsingborg