Not Just a Victim: The Child as Catalyst and Witness of Contemporary Africa

Series:

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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Biographical Note

Sandra J.T.M. Evers, Ph.D. (Amsterdam 2001) is associate professor and senior researcher at the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, VU University Amsterdam. She specializes in Africa and South West Indian Ocean studies. Dr Evers’ research covers the anthropology of children, migration, slavery, memory and cognition, natural resource management, and sustainable development.

Catrien Notermans, Ph.D. (Nijmegen 1999) is an anthropologist working as a senior researcher and lecturer at the Department of Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology at Radboud University Nijmegen. Her fields of interest include religion (African Christianity, pilgrimage, witchcraft, Hinduism, material religion) and kinship (polygyny, fosterage, transnational kin networks).

Erik van Ommering is a PhD candidate at the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, VU University Amsterdam, where he attained his M.Sc. in 2007. His research focuses on children’s experiences of primary education in settings of violent conflict. The regional focus of his study is Lebanon.


Review Quotes

'This edited collection is an especially welcome contribution to the development of childhood studies in Africa because it explores the agency children across the continent are able to demonstrate despite the structural constraints within their societies. The interplay between structure and agency as they relate to children’s daily lives is the overarching theme of ten substantive chapters. As part of the editors’ goal of highlighting children’s agency, a secondary theme of the volume is innovative, childfocused methodologies that are appropriate within African contexts.
...
As in many edited collections, some chapters in this one speak very strongly to the aims and objectives of the book, while others struggle to show their relevance. Nevertheless, I welcome the contribution the collection as a whole makes to theorizing about childhood studies in Africa'.

University of Sheffield, AFUATWUM-DANSO IMOH
In: African Affairs, Vol. 112, Issue 449, October 2013

Table of contents

Contents

Acknowledgements ........................................................................................ vii

Ethnographies of Children in Africa: Moving beyond Stereotypical Representations and Paradigms ........... 1
Sandra J.T.M. Evers, Catrien Notermans & Erik van Ommering

1 Bending the Generational Rules: Agency of Children and Young People in ‘Child-Headed’ Households ..... 21
Diana van Dijk

2 Using a “Kids Club Method” to Understand Experiences of Children Orphaned by AIDS in North-Central Namibia ..... 43
Mienke van der Brug

3 Understanding Children’s Well-Being and Transitions Through the Life Course: A Case from Ethiopia ...... 69
Yisak Tafere

4 Kinning in the Imagination: Perceptions of Kinship and Family History among Chagossian Children in Mauritius ... 95
Sandra J.T.M. Evers

5 From Home to the Street: Children’s Street-ward Migration in Cape Verde ..................................... 125
Lorenzo I. Bordonaro

6 Gendered Work and Schooling in Rural Ethiopia: Exploring Working Children’s Perspectives .............. 147
Tatek Abebe

7 In Between the Netherlands and Morocco: ‘Home’ and Belonging of Dutch Moroccan Return Migrant and Abandoned Children in Northeast Morocco ................................................................................. 173
June de Bree, Oka Storms & Edien Bartels

8 The Learning Experiences of Refugee and Asylum-Seeker Children: A Model for Meaningful Learning ..... 197
Cilel Smith

9 Reconceptualising Child Protection Interventions in Situations of Chronic Conflict: North Kivu, DRC ......... 223
Claudia Seymour

10 Agency, Resilience and the Psychosocial Well-Being of Caregiving Children: Experiences from Western Kenya ..................................... 247
Morten Skovdal

About the Authors .......................................................................................... 269
Index ................................................................................................................ 273

Readership

All those interested in the anthropology of children, child-oriented research methods, African studies, and children experiences of kinship, work, caring, health, migration, conflict.

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