Dr Adam Cooper is a senior research specialist in the HSRC's Inclusive Economic Development research division. He holds a PhD degree in education policy studies from Stellenbosch University. Cooper specialises in the sociologies of education and youth, looking at how young people navigate various social challenges shaped by race, class, gender, age, language and spatial relations, amongst others, to create opportunities for themselves and others.
Cooper was formerly a post-doctoral scholar at the Graduate Centre of the City University of New York (2014-2016) and a Commonwealth Scholar at Cambridge University (2012-2013). He leads a mixed-methods national project on parents' perceptions of quality education, evaluated the Public Schools Partnership - a pilot public-private educational project and an evaluation of an independent school, Christel House South Africa. He works on the Imprint of Education study, leading the component that explores structural barriers to young people finding fulfilling livelihoods and giving back to their societies. Before joining the HSRC, Cooper worked at the Extra-Mural Education Project, a non-profit organisation that worked with schools in low-income communities to develop these schools as hubs of their communities through extra-murals.
Cooper is on the editorial committee of the Journal of Education (UKZN) and the editorial board of the Journal of Youth Studies. He has published 12 scientific articles in local and international peer-reviewed academic journals, 8 research reports, and 8 book chapters. He wrote a sole-authored book, Dialogue in Places of Learning: Youth Amplified from South Africa, which was published by Routledge, London in 2017, co-authored Studying While Black: Race, education and emancipation in South African universities (Cape Town: HSRC Press, 2018) and is a co-editor of the Oxford University Press Handbook of Global South Youth Studies (2021). He has also presented more than 30 papers at local and international conferences.