Who’s Serving Whom? Partners, Process, and Products in Service-Learning Projects in South African Urban Geography
Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 2008
The literature on service learning in geography courses has established and substantiated the importance and usefulness of such projects for student learning. In this paper the assumption is questioned that similar sets of benefits accrue to ‘community’ participants, those involved who are located outside the university context. The research undertaken demonstrates that projects, and the research or ‘service’ that they produce, are embedded in more complicated sociopolitical terrain that reflects not only the relationship between university and community, but also the complex ways in which organizations link to ‘communities’ and residents with complex local identities and interests. Analysis of this topography demonstrates the context-specific structuring of partnerships, research processes and the consequent diverse ‘after-lives’ of any research products that are produced.
Urban geography, service learning, community benefits, South Africa