The inevitability of us :exploring the risk and protective factors relating to the use and / or rejection of methamphetamine amongst youth in Manenberg
Swarts, Brigitte Stephanie
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This study presents a discursive journey with regard to the risk and protective factors confronting individuals who engage in methamphetamine use within the Manenberg area. Given that this journey requires a cautious and sensitive approach to the meaning making of the lived experiences of the six (6) individual users (the informant base); the study adopted an analysis process that would allow for a guided “tour” of these experiences. In doing so, the study made use of the grounded theory method that allowed for this guided “tour” to be fully anchored in the collected data. External to this data, and once the data emerged as engageable themes, the study introduced, relevantly so, Bronfenbrenner's social-ecological model of human development, so to multiply and deepen the meanings embedded within the data. The merging of this external frame, provided by Bronfenbrenner's model, and the rich data provided by the six (6) informants, uncovered critical themes in understanding the risk and protective factors at play within Manenberg. These themes relate to the historical identity of Manenberg, given the history of Apartheid, the role of the local community and its perceived tolerance of the practice of drug use, which is further echoed in the identity of the family and its limited ability to support drug users in the face of ever-growing poverty. The themes also uncovered the bipolarity in the practice of drug trade and gangsterism as serving a subsistence function, at one level, and an exploitative function at another. Furthermore, the study solidified traditional views that the peer collective is, indeed, a critical actor on the stage of drug use and that the individual (as an actor) continues to be confronted by a script of poverty and disillusionment. This script, as will be illustrated, is also active in preconceived notions of gender stratification.