SOAS University of London

Department of Anthropology and Sociology

Franziska Fay

Magister Artium (Goethe University Frankfurt), MARes/MPhil (SOAS)
  • Overview
  • Research


Franziska Fay
Department of Anthropology and Sociology

PhD Student

Miss Franziska Fay
Email address:
Thesis title:
Contesting the Ordinary: Children's Perspectives on 'Child Protection' in Educational Settings in Zanzibar, Tanzania.
Year of Study:


Franziska Fay holds a Magister Artium in Educational Science, Swahili and Cultural Anthropology from Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany (2011) and an MARes in Anthropological Research Methods from SOAS, University of London (2013).

PhD Research

My research explores children's perceptions of so-called ‘child protection’ interventions in primary and Qur’anic schools in urban Zanzibar. The Indian Ocean Archipelago has become a site of recent (inter)national 'child protection' activities which, among other things, aim to replace the ordinary use of corporal punishment in schools with alternative methods of discipline and to introduce new ideas of child-rearing. I argue that despite their claim to ‘protect’ these activities make a full achievement of the status of person impossible. This leads people to contest and reject them as Zanzibari society's social realities and complexities are simplified and denied.

This research project builds on eighteen months of qualitative fieldwork on children's concepts of personhood and protection in educational settings by combining innovative child-led research tools (draw and write, photovoice) with traditional ethnographic methods. I ask how Zanzibari children’s lifeworlds are embedded in social relations, how they vary in regards to age and gender, how they are mediated through their bodies and how they contrast and complement dominant adult discourses. In representing children's views and generating multiple insights into protection and personhood in Zanzibar, this research aims to contribute to the bodies of knowledge in the Anthropologies of Childhood and Development and to the policy field of ‘child protection’.



  • “’A Child is Someone who Greets the Elders’: narratives of children and childhood in Zanzibar”(Paper presentation), African Studies of the UK Biennial Conference (ASAUK), Cambridge, 7-9 Sep 2016
  • “Karaoke and beyond: challenging the impact agenda”(Lab co-convenor), Conference of the Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK and Commonwealth (ASA2016), University of Durham, 4-7 Jul 2016
  • “Navigating the Self in the Politics of Child Protection in Zanzibar: thoughts on positionality and punishment” (Paper presentation), Anthropology in London Day, UCL, London, 14 Jun 2016
  • “Discipline or Punishment? exploring 'child protection' interventions in schools in Zanzibar”, Guest Lecture, Module: Children’s Rights in Practice, UCL Institute of Education (IOE), London, 1 Apr 2016
  • “Children’s Perceptions of ‘Child Protection’ in Educational Settings in Zanzibar” (Poster presentation), Exploring Childhood Studies in the Global South Workshop University of Sheffield, 19-21 Jan 2016
  • "The Meaning of Adabu and Adhabu for the 'Child Protection' Discourse in Zanzibar", Baraza: Swahili Conference, SOAS, London, UK, 31 October 2015
  • “Challenges and Opportunities of Studying Perceptions of Child Protection in Zanzibar, Tanzania”, Conference of the Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK and Commonwealth (ASA), University of Exeter, UK, 13-16 April 2015
  • “Contesting the Ordinary: Children's and Young People's Perspectives on ‘Child Protection' Measures in Educational Settings in Zanzibar, Tanzania”, Conference of the German African Studies Association (VAD), University of Bayreuth, Germany, 11-14 June 2014
  • “Implementing Child Protection: Contesting (Universalized) Notions of Childhood, Violence and Authority”, General Conference of the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR), Science Po Bordeaux, France, 4-7 September 2013


  • Save the Children (Zanzibar)
  • Zanzibar University
  • British Institute in East Africa


Franziska's research is formed by the Anthropologies of Childhood, Development and the Body. She is interested in processes that concern and shape children's lives - particularly from their own perspectives. With her research she explores questions of child protection, Child Rights, discipline and well/being. Regionally she focuses on Swahili speaking societies in East Africa. Franziska also works as a development consultant for international organizations such as GIZ and Save the Children.