Skip to main content

Centre of African Studies: Research


Security at the Margins (SeaM)

Security at the Margins (SeaM) is a three-year project, which explores the strategies individuals use to negotiate forms of marginality in urban South Africa. It is a collaboration between CAS and the African Centre for Migration and Society at the University of the Witwatersrand, drawing on the research excellence in both institutions to forge a cutting-edge interdisciplinary agenda. The project began in December 2015 and is led by Drs Barbara Bompani and Sarah-Jane Cooper-Knock. SeaM is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council in partnership with South Africa’s National Research Foundation. To meet the full team and for research updates, visit the SeaM website.


Why SeaM now?

The social, economic and political security of those located at the ‘margins’ of society in South Africa is currently being eroded, particularly evident in the frequency and visibility of homophobic and xenophobic attacks in urban and peri-urban areas. The SeaM project aims to identify these multiple forms of marginality that people experience and the strategies they use to counteract their marginalisation. By doing so, the SeaM project will further our understanding of the macro and micro-drivers of security.

How will the project work?

The SeaM research team draws together a wealth of empirical and methodological knowledge from a range of disciplines. Together, team members will work to forge innovate methods to collect and explore data on this challenging and sensitive issue. In particular, they will be drawing on remote events mapping, social network analysis, big data methods, and audio-visual methods. SeaM members are particularly interested in the role that digital technology plays in negotiating security, as well as shaping the flow of power, resources, and information in urban areas. For updates and outputs visit the SeaM website.