Youth Voice and Narrative Inquiry: Rendering the Invisible Visible
Keywords:Mindfulness, Narrative inquiry, NEET, Youth voice, Youth development
Narrative inquiry was employed in a study aimed at exploring youth experiences of a holistic approach to personal transformation. This article focuses on the research design that facilitated youth voice to be the fulcrum that not only shapes the research, but generates the type of data that can inform youth development theory and practice, as well as social policy more broadly. The respondents were five young people who participated in a three-month residential programme offered by the Chrysalis Academy, a non-profit organisation based in the Western Cape Province in South Africa. Narrative inquiry is becoming increasingly important in a context where it is claimed that policies and programme interventions aimed at youth are often crafted by policy think tanks, public servants and academics. The findings illustrated that youth can speak eloquently about their lives and their deep longing to be seen and heard. In this way, their voice renders the invisible, visible. The article details how the potency of narrative inquiry is amplified through relational mindfulness practices such as deep listening, and enquiry that allow the researcher to be open and fully present to that which emerges in the interview, contributing to the richness and authenticity of the research process. Ethical considerations in narrative inquiry are also explored.
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