Married at 15, YouTube star at 16: The complexities of child marriage in Brazil


The objectives of this preliminary research conducted during this trip were to: a) focus my dissertation research questions and instrument questions with regard to gender, education, and child marriage by conducting initial fieldwork; b) narrow the sites and age range of adolescents/ youth I will include in my sample, and c) build partnerships and contacts. I also uncovered further questions as I carried out fieldwork and developed meaningful contacts and partnerships that will enable me to return within the next year (or December if feasible to continue work over the course of my Ph.D.). My previous international and research experience are as follows: Study abroad during BA in (Salvador, Brazil, 1 semester); master's thesis research (Colombia, 1 yr total); from 2010-2016 I lived in and worked in several parts of Brazil/ LAC through a Brazilian NGO (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 6 years). During this summer fieldwork through the Tinker grant in 2017, I conducted numerous interviews and focus groups, and engaged in participant observation in multiple events and meetings. I would suggest for future grantees to prepare as much as possible but to be open to changes and surprises that challenge one's thinking, and to always prioritize relationships with people in the places in which one is doing research. To me, the research would be unsuccessful if done alone. Language abilities and resourcefulness are also important. Finally, while going to two sites was important at this stage, I think the time could have been better spent on one, given the cost of travel in Brazil. I will use my findings to continue dissertation fieldwork in Brazil; I anticipate returning at least once before spending several months living in Belem for a concentrated period of time. I will also use them to publish at least one article or blog on this experience and initial findings. I am also sharing findings with the partner organizations/university contact with which I worked as they expressed that it will be of use in their related research (and we are exchanging resources). Lastly, I will present the findings at a conference (possibly two); I am submitting an abstract with colleagues for the Latin American Studies Association Conference in May 2018. I am very grateful for this opportunity and recognize it as a fundamental step in shaping my dissertation. 

Publication date: 
August 18, 2017
Publication type: 
Student Research