PhD defence Elizabeth Mulewa Ngutuku


Professor Karin Arts


Dr Auma Okwany

Wednesday 4 Mar 2020, 16:00 - 18:00
PhD defence
Auditorium of the ISS
International Institute of Social Studies
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On Wednesday 4 March 2020, Elizabeth Mulewa Ngutuku will defend her PhD dissertation, entitled: ‘Rhizomatic Cartographies of Children’s Lived Experience of Poverty and Vulnerability in Siaya, Kenya’.

Rhizomatic Cartographies of Children’s Lived Experience of Poverty and Vulnerability is an interdisciplinary research on children’s complex lived experience in Kenya. It is based on a one-year ethnographic research in Siaya, a county characterized by some of the lowest indicators of child wellbeing in Kenya. The research was guided by the key cartographical question, how is it both to be, and to be constructed as, a poor and vulnerable child in Siaya, Kenya? I took the rhizome, a Deleuzean imaginary for complexity, fluidity and interconnectedness as the conceptual, methodological, and organizing principle for my study. I explored the children’s experience as ‘cartography’, or a rhizomatic map from three interlinked every-day and symbolic spaces of children. These are: the household/home, and non-state and state programmes of support and schooling. Based on four main observations I demonstrate that contradictions suffuse the lived experience of children. My research also contributes to a call for childhood studies to re-think the voice of children beyond what children say, decentre the subject of childhood studies and re-imagine children’s agency. It is presented at a time when there is a proliferation of research on deconstructing representations of children in policy and practice and especially the concept of an orphaned and vulnerable child. I engage in particular with the question, how can one deconstruct but still not lose focus on the wellbeing and rights of the child in critical, deconstructive research and studies?

The Public Defence will take place on Wednesday 4 March 2020 in Aula B. The ceremony will begin promptly at 16.00 hrs in the Auditorium of the ISS, Kortenaerkade 12, The Hague. The doors will be closed after the start of the Public Defence, but will be briefly opened after the candidate’s introduction to allow latecomers to enter. Children under 7 years old are not allowed in the Aula during the first part of the ceremony. The ceremony will be followed by a reception in the Atrium of the ISS. Professors are invited to join the academic procession.

More information

This Public Defence may broadcast on ISS livestream. If so, you will be able to watch the Public Defence live at and later on at the ISS YouTube channel.

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