Olfactoscapes in Malawi: Exploring the smells children like and are exposed to in semi-urban classrooms

Kucirkova, Natalia and Mwenda Chinula, Neema (2023). Olfactoscapes in Malawi: Exploring the smells children like and are exposed to in semi-urban classrooms. Childhood [Early Access].

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/09075682231200131

Abstract

Moving beyond the “canned” lens on literacies dominant in contemporary literacy studies in Malawi, this study connects theoretical perspectives on sensory and critical literacies to original empirical data on children’s lived “olfactory literacies”. We focus on situational and locally experienced odours in two classrooms in semi-urban Malawi. We present findings from interviews and drawings with 25 children who shared their olfactory preferences with the local researcher. Children’s views were supplemented with the researcher’s and teachers’ evaluations of the olfactory qualities of their classroom environments. Our study advances the field by being the first to unite theoretical provocations on sensory literacies in global child research with critical and empirical insights into children’s local olfactoscapes.

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