COVID-19 in Poor Neighbourhoods – G.S. & G.N. Comparison

COVID-19 in Poor Neighbourhoods – the Global South and Global North Compared

  • Nina Baur


Gaborone, Botswana; Berlin, Germany

Methodological skills per se are usually very abstract and hard to operationalize for actual research. Correspondingly, their implementation has to be practiced by applying them to a specific research topic. This course aims at improving methodological teaching by lecturers from the Global North and Global South co-teaching either German or Batswana students.

In a series of courses, the project experiments with different formats – online-teaching, workshops, classical face-to-face teaching in university seminar rooms and lecture halls and joint fieldwork – as well as different methods. Each individual course is integrated into the regular teaching program either at TU Berlin (Germany) or University of Botwana (Botswana). Due to its potential to reveal blind spots, routines and infrastructues, deeply engrained in specific societies, a special focus lies on improving ethnography. In doing so, we further the ethnographic method of “cultural crossreading” which we first developed in the preparatory meetings for SMUS in 2019. In order for the method to work, scholars from different cultural backgrounds have to walk together and neighborhoods have to be sampled in a way that ethnography allows for experiencing German urban history and how inequality and neighborhood segregation unfold in space.
As advanced methodological teaching can only be put into practice for specific research questions and specific methodological challenges only arise when doing a specific research project, the substantial focus of the project are the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on food supply/food retailing, poor neighbourhoods and urban infrastructure against the backdrop of different historical backgrounds. By systematically comparing Botswana and Germany over the course of almost two years, we will ask how the Global North can learn from the Global South and vice versa

In doing so, the project will contribute towards improving methodological training and decolonising social science research.

Research methods

  • Literature review and content analysis of public regulations and reports and newspaper articles
  • Ethnographic comparison
  • Qualitative interviews using qualitative content analysis in MAXqda

SDG #11 Target

Teaching Team


University of Botswana

Prof. Gabriel Faimau, Email:

TU Berlin

Prof. Nina Baur, Email: