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Ethnographies Of Children In Africa: Moving Beyond Stereotypical Representations And Paradigms

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Chapter Summary

African children have historically remained on the margins of social and anthropological studies. They are often depicted as victims of war, poverty and illness, and not as agents who creatively deal with the possibilities and constraints of social life. This introductory chapter of this book offers a chance to learn more about African children's own ideas and experiences in a variety of contexts. Such an approach that takes children's perspectives and ethnographies as points of departure provides us with a wealth of analytical insights about children's worlds, while also contributing to our understanding of and theorising about adult social worlds. The book consists of ten qualitative studies that explore African children's own perspectives, agencies and interdependencies. It focuses on Africa and on children living in difficult circumstances to counterbalance stereotypical images of the suffering African child needing help from adults.

Keywords: African children; ethnographies



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