Chapter 3 Rearing Like the State: Belonging, Child Rearing, and Greeting in Zanzibar

In: Across the Waves
Franziska Fay
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In Zanzibar, community forms of child rearing (malezi ya jamii) are disappearing as different child rearing approaches, such as those modelled in response to a universalised children’s rights discourse, take their place. While malezi ya jamii once structured social relationships between children and adults, today there are also forces beyond the local community that intervene in and define how young people should be brought up. Some adults consider this dissolving of communal ways of raising children in and with the Zanzibari public as a shifting of childhood matters into the private realm and as contributing to a decay of a ‘Zanzibari’ sense of identity that is centrally built around the notion of respect and manners - heshima and adabu - and transmitted across generations through child rearing. I draw on ethnographic examples from eighteen months of fieldwork with (non)governmental child protection actors and teachers in Zanzibar Town (January 2014 - July 2015) and focus specifically on greetings as social practices that similarly achieve to establish those traits that are constitutive for relationships between children and adults in Zanzibar. Thereby, I explore the link between the regime of child rearing and respect as it plays out between the state on the broadest level and in the family setting on the smallest scale.

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