Brendon R. Barnes

Brendon R. Barnes
University of Johannesburg | uj · Department of Psychology

PhD

About

64
Publications
23,470
Reads
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846
Citations
Introduction
I write about critical psychology, environmental justice and research methodology in the global South. I contribute to this field in three ways: to make visible evidence of toxic environments and child development, to deepen and critique the concept of ‘behaviour’ in relation to environmental injustice, and to develop critical research methodologies. I work on studies of air pollution, housing, lead poisoning, mercury, water and sanitation, and climate change.
Additional affiliations
August 2020 - present
University of Johannesburg
Position
  • Head of Faculty
February 2014 - present
University of Johannesburg
Position
  • Professor (Full)
March 2008 - January 2014
University of the Witwatersrand
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
Education
March 2003 - June 2007
University of the Witwatersrand
Field of study
  • Public Health
January 1998 - January 1999
University of KwaZulu-Natal
Field of study
  • Psychology
January 1997 - December 1997
University of KwaZulu-Natal
Field of study
  • Psychology

Publications

Publications (64)
Article
Full-text available
Critics have raised concerns about health behaviour change programmes in the global South. However, there has been very little reflection about what those critiques are critical of and, in particular, what psychology has come to mean within those critiques. The aim of this article was threefold: to describe existing critiques of behaviour change pr...
Article
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Indoor air pollution caused by the indoor burning of solid biomass fuels has been associated with Acute Respiratory Infections such as pneumonia amongst children of less than five years of age. Behavioural change interventions have been identified as a potential strategy to reduce child indoor air pollution exposure, yet very little is known about...
Article
Full-text available
This paper focuses on the psychologization of development in South Africa, one of the most unequal countries in the world, through a critical analysis of a discussion on a national radio programme about the meaning of Mandela Day. We demonstrate how speakers draw on common sense notions of race, class, and party politics that (re)produce subject po...
Article
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Editorial for Psychology in Society (PINS) Special Issue on Psychology, environment and climate change: foregrounding justice. This is the editorial to part one of a two-part special issue.
Article
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African women youth climate activists are marginalised in mainstream climate activism. There is very little scholarly work done on this group, specifically on how their agency is deployed in the context of extreme undermining. Based on a case study of the activism of Vanessa Nakate, this paper analyses online interviews, media reports and social me...
Research
Full-text available
Call for Papers: Psychology and the Climate Emergency Guest editors: Garret Barnwell, Brendon Barnes, and Lynn Hendricks A “code red for humanity” has been signaled by the United Nations (UN) after releasing the IPCC 2021 Sixth Assessment Report, which marked that climate change is rapidly intensifying. A 1.5°C threshold has been set by the int...
Article
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On behalf of the Psychology in Society (PINS) guest editors, Brendon Barnes, Lynn Hendricks and myself, we kindly invite you to contribute to the forthcoming Special Issue: "Psychology, Climate Change and the Environment: Foregrounding Justice". Submission deadlines: 31 August 2021 | Please submit your contributions directly to Prof Brendon Barnes:...
Article
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Critical social studies have highlighted the varied methods by which climate activism is reproduced in discourse. This paper examines an incident in which an African youth climate activist, Vanessa Nakate, had her image cropped out of a media photograph taken at the World Economic Forum. Our analysis focuses on three media-based interactions with V...
Article
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As the climate crisis accelerates and disproportionately affects marginalised communities and countries in the global South, the need for power and social justice approaches is particularly important. Community psychology, with a long interest in the impacts of power discrepancies on the well-being of groups and communities, can offer theoretical a...
Article
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COVID-19 has brought a new set of challenges at a time when poorer nations were struggling with existing burdens. However, the lockdown restrictions aimed at slowing the infection rate has created problems of their own such as increased unemployment, poverty, and mental health problems. While the lockdown approach may be effective for public health...
Article
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This paper focuses on the ways in which activism is undermined in the water and sanitation wars in South Africa. The paper extends previous work that has focused on the politics of water and sanitation in South Africa and is based on an analysis of talk between activists and stakeholders in a television debate. It attempts to make two arguments. Fi...
Article
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Decolonising methodologies attempt to bring together a number of critical, indigenous, liberation, and feminist methodologies to strengthen decolonisation research. Decolonising methodologies have potential, but it is important to be aware of possible limitations. I argue that the manner in which decolonising methodologies is located in the paradig...
Article
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Psychology and decolonisation: introduction to the special issue Brendon Barnes and Anele Siswana The aim of this special issue is to strengthen a growing body of work on decolonisation and psychology. We framed the special issue as follows in the call for papers: ‘Building on long-standing criticisms of the psychology curricula, pedagogy, resear...
Article
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In poorly resourced countries children may face multiple health risks associated with environmental hazards and under-development. It is estimated that exposure to harmful environmental factors (e.g. air pollution, poor water quality and harmful chemicals) accounts for 33% of the global burden of disease, with the highest burden being borne by chil...
Article
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Lead is a toxic heavy metal that is associated with lowered intelligence quotient scores, behavioural problems, and physical health impairments in children. Current consensus is that there is no safe level of child lead exposure and that even low doses of lead can have negative effects. Several reviews conducted in South Africa have revealed the so...
Article
The objective of this formative research was to explore the acceptability and feasibility of changing housekeeping behaviors as a low-cost approach that may reduce childhood lead exposure in Johannesburg, South Africa. Using the Trials of Improved Practices (TIPs) methodology, modified housekeeping behaviors were negotiated with participants who ch...
Article
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Saths Cooper, PhD, is an important figure in both South African and international psychology. Based on a two hour interview with Cooper, this article focuses on his experiences with Apartheid-era psychologists, his views on the abuses of psychology past and present, and his views of psychology as president of the International Union of Psychologica...
Article
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Background: Lead exposure has significant detrimental effects on the health and wellbeing of children. In resource-poor countries, information on the extent of lead exposure is often inadequate owing to the lack of surveillance and screening programmes. Objective: To determine the degree of lead exposure in children residing in South African urb...
Article
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Mixed methods are becoming increasingly popular in social science research. There has recently been a groundswell of literature suggesting that mixed methods should be viewed as a unique form of social enquiry with its own set of philosophical, methodological and practice guidelines, as opposed to the simple combination of quantitative and qualitat...
Article
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Indoor air pollution has been associated with a number of health outcomes including child lower respiratory infections such as pneumonia. Behavioural change has been promoted as a potential intervention strategy but very little evidence exists of the impact of such strategies on actual indoor air pollution indicators particularly in poor rural cont...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Water is essential to human life, health and development. Inadequate water and sanitation is associated with 10% of the global disease burden resulting in the deaths of approximately 1.8 million children each year. Driven by large multinational companies, prepaid water metres are a popular yet controversial approach to extending water services to t...
Article
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The Hawthorne Effect is relatively common in community intervention trials. Yet, very little is known about it in developing countries where poverty may play an important role in how and why people participate in studies. A quasi‐experimental trial with a comparison group designed to evaluate the effectiveness of an indoor air pollution interventio...
Article
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With rapid growth in the global urban population over the next two decades, health will increasingly have an urban bias. The picture of public health is particularly complex in African cities, where rates of urbanisation, poverty and inequity are high. This paper identifies the main data collection problems encountered within a panel study in low‐i...
Article
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Mercury is a persistent heavy metal that has been associated with damage to the central nervous system, including hearing and speech impairment, visual constriction and loss of muscle control. In aquatic environments mercury may be methylated to its most toxic form, methyl-mercury. In 1990 concerns were raised over mercury contamination in the vici...
Article
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South Afr J Epidemiol Infect Original Research: Violence affecting the urban poor The experience of violent crime can have a significant impact on the physical and psychological well-being of victims and their families. This paper looks at household experience of violence in five impoverished sites in the city of Johannesburg, South Africa. Five si...
Article
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Indoor air pollution has been associated with acute lower respiratory infections amongst children less than five years old in developing countries. Very little is known about the factors that influence the impact of behavioural interventions designed to reduce child indoor air pollution exposure. Eight focus group interviews were used to identify m...
Article
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In 2005, in recognition of the role of social factors in increasing health inequities, the World Health Organisation established the Commission on the Social Determinants of Health. South Africa is among the most unequal societies in the world. It faces serious public health challenges, including an elevated burden of chronic disease, and high leve...
Conference Paper
Programs addressing needs of People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHAs) put little emphasis on hygiene and sanitation. Diarrhea, a common cause of illness and death among PLWHAs, is largely related to lack of proper water, santitation and hygiene. Qualitative research was conducted in Ugandan households with PLWHAs in urban and rural communities to ass...
Article
Full-text available
Water is essential to human life, health and development. Prepaid water metres are a popular yet controversial approach to extending water services to the poor. They operate on an upfront payment system which automatically disconnects water if households do not have enough money to replenish supplies. While prepaid water metres have been criticised...
Article
Full-text available
Indoor air pollution due to the indoor burning of polluting fuels has been associated with Acute Lower Respiratory Infections (ALRI) amongst children less than five years old. This paper reviews evidence of the association between household energy, indoor air pollution and child ALRI in South Africa. Studies show evidence consistent with the intern...
Article
Full-text available
To estimate the burden of respiratory ill health in South African children and adults in 2000 from exposure to indoor air pollution associated with household use of solid fuels. World Health Organization comparative risk assessment (CRA) methodology was followed. The South African Census 2001 was used to derive the proportion of households using so...
Article
Full-text available
To estimate the burden of disease attributable to lead exposure in South Africa in 2000. World Health Organization comparative risk assessment (CRA) methodology was followed. Recent community studies were used to derive mean blood lead concentrations in adults and children in urban and rural areas. Population-attributable fractions were calculated...
Article
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Behavioural change remains a popular intervention strategy for environmental health promotion in developing countries. This article explores the question of why behavioural change interventions continue to be widely used as an intervention strategy in developing countries and highlights the political implications of this approach. It suggests that...
Article
Indoor air pollution, caused by the indoor burning of biomass fuels, has been associated with an increased risk of child acute respiratory infections in developing countries. The amount of time that children spend in proximity to fires is a crucial determinant of the health impact of indoor air pollution. Researchers are reliant on social scientifi...
Article
Energy and energy technologies have a central role in social and eco-nomic development at all scales, from household and community to regional and national. Among its welfare effects, energy is closely linked with public health both positively and negatively, the latter through environmental pollution and degradation. We review the current research...
Article
Full-text available
Indoor air pollution is responsible for the deaths and illness of millions of young children in developing countries. This study investigated the acceptability (willingness to try) and feasibility (ability to perform) of four indoor air pollution reduction behaviors (improve stove maintenance practices, child location practices, ventilation practic...
Article
Full-text available
Indoor air pollution has been causally linked to acute lower respiratory infections in children younger than 5. The aim of this study was to identify target behaviors for a behavioral intervention to reduce child exposure to indoor air pollution by attempting to answer two research questions: Which behaviors are protective of child respiratory heal...
Article
It is well-documented that energy and energy systems have a central role in social and economic development and human welfare at all scales, from household and community to regional and national (41). Among its various welfare effects, energy is closely linked with people s health. Some of the effects of energy on health and welfare are direct. Wit...
Article
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Informed by discursive psychology, this study aimed to identify and explicate those rhetorical maneuvers that function to introduce the issue of race into conversations in the presence of an interracial couple (the first two authors) in the “new South Africa” and to negotiate “race talk” in their presence while distancing the speaker from inference...
Article
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Abstract Indoor air pollution has been ,causally linked to Acute Lower Respiratory Infections in children less than 5 years old and accounts,for a significant proportion of death,and illness in developing countries. The aim ,of this ,study was ,to identify ,the target behaviours ,for a behavioural intervention to reduce,the impact of indoor air pol...

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Projects

Projects (3)
Project
Around the world land and environmental defenders, those who in their personal or professional capacity are defending and promoting land or environmental rights, face significant pressures for their work (Global Witness, 2021; UNEP, 2021). Frontline communities, researchers, academics and health care workers have all come under scrutiny, litigation and threats in South Africa (Centre for Environmental Rights, 2020). Those resisting large-scale resource development projects, such as such as mining, coal and gas power, and logging, can encounter strong narratives that position projects as for the benefit of society, while the ecological, cultural and health costs of these projects are often unacknowledged (Gómez-Barris, 2017; Menton & Le Billon, 2021). These relations with communities and broader public are often characterised by modernity’s extractive practices, where differing views towards extractive projects are deemed inferior, invisible, and actively silenced through threats or violence (Gómez-Barris, 2017; Vázquez, 2011). From a community psychological perspective, these processes described above can be considered forms of epistemic violence. Epistemic violence, as a concept, seeks to bring into focus how certain knowledge, ways of knowing and being in the world are privileged over others that are excluded, misrepresented, silenced, made invisible, distrusted, systematically distorted, misrecognised, and devalued by modernity (Kidd, et al 2017; Mignolo, 2021). Community psychology within the decolonial turn is particularly concerned with epistemic violence and epistemic justice (Sonn & Stevens, 2021). In South Africa’s Limpopo Province, Barnwell, et al (2021) have shown how epistemic violence has taken place in relation to apartheid-era dispossession and land clearings for the agricultural sector. What Barnwell, et al (2021) suggest is that this experience of epistemic violence and material severing contributes to intergenerational psychological distress that is still present today. This study was relatively novel in the field of community psychology and, if these conclusions are correct, it would help develop important understandings that can inform future studies on how industries operate in communities and the unseen psychologically harms that may be occurring more broadly. Barnwell, et al (2020, 2021) have also shown how land and environmental defenders play an essential role in resisting epistemic violence, including participatory and procedural injustices. What is interesting about these studies is that it not only draws attention to harmful physical outcomes of projects but suggests that the processes themselves may be characterized by epistemic injustices contributing to psychological distress. Although both papers start to develop some ideas about the link between epistemic violence (including participatory and procedural injustices) and psychological distress, their studies were not designed to explore tenets of epistemic violence in detail. Thus, specific relationships between epistemic violence and psychological distress could be better understood and articulated. Furthermore, to the researcher’s knowledge, there are no empirical mixed-method studies that have reasonably representative samples that delve into land and environmental defenders’ experiences of epistemic injustice and psychological distress. Epistemic violence has direct impacts on people’s lives because it obscures, ignores and makes invisible particular knowledge that could help protect communities from the negative impacts of extractivism. Thus, the research aims to build on this knowledge by taking a national perspective on land and environmental defenders’ experiences of epistemic (in)justice and psychological distress in South Africa. Problem statement How do land and environmental defenders experience the relationship between epistemic violence and psychological distress in South Africa? Purpose This mixed-method study aims to understand the relationship between experiences of epistemic violence and psychological distress among land and environmental defenders. The study will focus on the four main objectives: 1. To describe the experiences of epistemic injustice and psychological distress; 2. To determine the relationship between perceived experiences of epistemic injustice and psychological distress; 3. To determine the extent to which components of epistemic injustice combined with select demographic variables predict psychological distress. 4. To explore and describe how these relationships are understood by those who score high on psychological distress and components of experiences of epistemic injustice.
Project
The qualitative research study is phenomenological in that it seeks to describe, understand, and interpret certain meanings derived from individuals' experiences. Research aims and objectives The qualitative research study aims to describe how land and environmental defenders’ who identify as being subjected to SLAPP suits sought and experienced epistemic justice, subverting, resist and overcoming the reproduction of epistemic violence in relation to extractive projects. The objects are to: 1. Describe the experience of epistemic violence owing to the SLAPP process. 2. Describe how land and environmental defenders’ sought and experienced epistemic justice, subverted, resisted and overcome the reproduction of epistemic violence.
Project
The aim of the project is to better understand the role conservation psychology may play in an African context by exploring issues of education, capacity development, empowerment, and protecting natural resources.