Engaging with a world outside of ourselves: vistas of flatness, children's work and the urban informal economy

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This paper considers the work and labour of children living on the streets of Accra, Ghana. It does so in two distinctive ways. First, it considers how the children's photographs of a day or two in their working lives, and the dialogues that go on in, through and around them, may contribute to the making of strong sociological arguments about children's work. In so doing, this paper elaborates the connections between visual sociology and realist traditions of photography, and argues that photographs can contribute distinctive and novel sources of insight into working children's lives and a powerful, humanising media of dissemination. Second, these arguments are then deployed to examine street children's experiences of work. Conceptualised in terms of its 'flatness', the paper explores the informal means of regulation through which the children are locked into types of working that prove difficult to escape. © Sociological Research Online, 1996-2012.

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Original languageEnglish
Article number17
JournalSociological research online
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2012


  • child labour, street children, visual sociology, informal economy


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