Transfers of Belonging, Erdmute Alber traces the history of child fostering in northern Benin from the pre-colonial past to the present by pointing out the embeddedness of child foster practices and norms in a wider political process of change. Child fostering was, for a long time, not just one way of raising children, but seen as the appropriate way of doing so. This changed profoundly with the arrival of European ideas about birth parents being the ‘right’ parents, but also with the introduction of schooling and the differentiation of life chances. Besides providing deep historical and ethnographical insights,
Transfers of Belonging offers a new theoretical frame for conceptualizing parenting.
What Politics? Youth and Political Engagement in Africa examines the diverse experiences of being young in today’s Africa. It offers new perspectives to the roles and positions young people take to change their life conditions both within and beyond the formal political structures and institutions. The contributors represent several social science disciplines, and provide well-grounded qualitative analyses of young people’s everyday engagements by critically examining dominant discourses of youth, politics and ideology. Despite focusing on Africa, the book is a collective effort to better understand what it is like to be young today, and what the making of tomorrow’s yesterday means for them in personal and political terms.
Contributors are: Ehaab Abdou, Abebaw Yirga Adamu, Henni Alava, Päivi Armila, Randi Rønning Balsvik, Jesper Bjarnesen, Þóra Björnsdóttir, Jónína Einarsdóttir, Tilo Grätz, Nanna Jordt Jørgensen, Marko Kananen, Sofia Laine, Naydene de Lange, Afifa Ltifi, Ivo Mhike, Claudia Mitchell, Relebohile Moletsane, Danai S. Mupotsa, Elina Oinas, Henri Onodera, Eija Ranta, Mounir Saidani, Mariko Sato, Loubna H. Skalli, Tiina Sotkasiira, Abdoulaye Sounaye, Leena Suurpää, and Mulumebet Zenebe.
Child fostering is an age-old and also modern phenomenon whose importance stretches much further than the boundaries of so-called ‘traditional’ African societies. As a mobile and creative kinship practice, child fostering is of growing importance in the global world as it goes along with other forms of mobility such as migration and transnationalism. The book aims to revitalize the study of fostering by situating the issue in more recent theoretical approaches to kinship. It also examines what functionalist and structuralist theory may still contribute to the understanding of child fostering. Historical and recent child fostering practices in several West African countries are discussed from the angles of Anthropology, History and Law.