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Child Fostering in West Africa

New Perspectives on Theory and Practices

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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.
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Erdmute Alber, Jeannett Martin and Catrien Notermans

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Social scientists examining contemporary Africa take considerable pains to resist portraying Africa as nothing more than a land of victims unable to escape historical cycles of war, exploitation and tyranny. However, children are still frequently conceptualised as passive actors, mere extensions of adult societies and receptors of culture. The authors in this volume argue that children are dynamic contributors to the shaping of contemporary Africa. Through novel and unorthodox ethnographic research methods, each chapter provides insights into children’s perspectives on kinship, work, caring, health, migration and conflict, shedding light on children’s views and the vital roles they play in the emerging Africa of tomorrow.
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Sandra J.T.M. Evers, Catrien Notermans and Erik Van Ommering