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Article
Publication date: 31 August 2021

Madeleine Leonard and Grace Kelly

This paper aims to explore how lone mothers define “good” mothering and outlines the extent to which feelings of pride and shame permeate their narratives.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore how lone mothers define “good” mothering and outlines the extent to which feelings of pride and shame permeate their narratives.

Design/methodology/approach

The empirical data on which the paper is based is drawn from semi-structured interviews with 32 lone mothers from Northern Ireland. All the lone mothers resided in low-income households.

Findings

Lone mothers experienced shame on three levels: at the level of the individual whereby they internalised feelings of shame; at the level of the collective whereby they internalised how they perceived being shamed by others in their networks but also engaged in shaming and at the level of wider society whereby they recounted how they felt shamed by government agencies and the media.

Originality/value

While a number of researchers have explored how shame stems from poverty and from “deviant” identities such as lone motherhood, the focus on pride is less developed. The paper responds to this vacuum by exploring how pride may counterbalance shame's destructive and scarring tendencies.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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Article
Publication date: 6 September 2011

Madeleine Leonard, Martina McKnight and Spyros Spyrou

The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of the six main articles which represent the special issue on “Growing up in divided societies” and to locate the…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of the six main articles which represent the special issue on “Growing up in divided societies” and to locate the articles within a framework of children's experiences of divided societies.

Design/methodology/approach

The article reviews the main methodologies employed by authors of the six articles and evaluates how these methodologies contribute to debates on researching children and young people's everyday lives.

Findings

The paper presents the core findings of the six articles and discusses these in relation to core themes, methodologies and policy implications.

Originality/value

The authors argue that there is a dearth of research on children and young people's everyday lives in politically contested societies and the special issue responds to this vacuum.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 31 no. 9/10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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Article
Publication date: 6 September 2011

Madeleine Leonard and Martina McKnight

The purpose of this paper is to present young people's attitudes to peace‐walls in Belfast and whether they feel that these peace‐walls should be temporary or permanent structures.

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1875

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present young people's attitudes to peace‐walls in Belfast and whether they feel that these peace‐walls should be temporary or permanent structures.

Design/methodology/approach

The methodology is based on questionnaire responses from 125 young people between the ages of 14 and 15 from six schools located in areas in Belfast where Catholics and Protestants live side by side yet apart. The paper is also based on their responses to photo prompts, focus group discussions and images of peace‐walls drawn by some of the young people.

Findings

The young people produced six discourses on peace‐walls in Belfast and these are outlined in the paper.

Research limitations/implications

The paper endorses the necessity of incorporating young people's views of peace‐walls in Belfast as a prelude to finding ways in which to challenge taken‐for‐granted assumptions about the legacy of the conflict in Northern Ireland.

Originality/value

The paper is original in that it addresses the neglect of young people's views on peace‐walls in Belfast and contributes to further understanding of the importance of capturing young people's spatial strategies in divided cities.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 31 no. 9/10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 2 June 2005

Carles Alsinet is Professor of Social Psychology in the Faculty of Pedagogy and Psychology at the University of Lleida, Spain. His primary research interests are on…

Abstract

Carles Alsinet is Professor of Social Psychology in the Faculty of Pedagogy and Psychology at the University of Lleida, Spain. His primary research interests are on children's rights and children's well-being.Loretta E. Bass is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Oklahoma. She focuses her research on children and stratification issues, and completes research in West Africa and the U.S. She recently completed a book, Child Labor in Sub-Saharan Africa, (Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2004) which offers a window on the lives of Africa's child workers drawing on research and demographic data from 43 countries. Dr. Bass’ research has appeared in Population Research and Policy Review, Political Behavior, Anthropology of Work Review, and the International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy.Michael F. C. Bourdillon was born in Africa and has spent most of his life in Zimbabwe. He is a social anthropologist, who has taught for over 25 years in the Department of Sociology, University of Zimbabwe. He has researched and published extensively on African religion. In recent years, his focus has turned to disadvantaged children in Zimbabwe. Apart from his academic work, he has long worked with an organization supporting street children in Harare. He has also cooperated with Save the Children Alliance, facilitating the establishment of a movement of working children in that country.Doris Bühler-Niederberger is Professor in Sociology at the University of Wuppertal, Germany. Several of her recent research projects have concerned childhood as a domain of professional, moral and political interest and images of childhood and children in public and professional debates. Her teaching and research interests are mainly focused on the sociology of private life and on private strategies of production and reproduction of social status and social order.Suellen Butler is currently the College Program Head of Urban Education (URBCC) and soon will be the coordinator of the Elementary Education in Multicultural Settings (ELEDM) program at Penn State Delaware County. Dr. Butler's contribution to this volume explores the activities and practices of the National School and Community Corp (NSCC), an AMERICORP school-based mentoring program in Philadelphia. Dr. Butler examines in what ways these school-based mentoring programs impact the childhood experiences of children and their schools.Steve Carlton-Ford is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Cincinnati, and an affiliate with the Department of Sociology's Kunz Center for the Study of Work and Family. His research examines both the impact of war on children's life chances and the effect of chronic childhood illness (particularly epilepsy) on family relationships and children's well being. He currently edits Sociological Focus, the journal of the North Central Sociological Association.Ferran Casas is Senior Professor of Social Psychology in the Faculty of Education and Psychology at the University of Girona, Spain. He is Director of the Research Institute on Quality of Life. He is author of many books and articles on children's rights. His main topics of research are well-being and quality of life, children's rights and intergenerational relationships.Verna Chow has training in neuropsychology and is a researcher at the University of Calgary. Verna Chow's and Dr. Hiller's contribution to this volume stems from a mutual interest in second-generation immigrants and their adaptation to Canadian Society, which officially proclaims itself as multicultural.Laura Daniel received a FAPESP Award as a student at Sao Paulo State University (UNESP) – Marilia, for researching “Toys and Games: Childhood in the Parque das Nações Favela,” which was supervised by Dr. Ethel Volfzon Kosminsky. She is currently a Social Sciences Master's degree student at the same university in Brazil, researching children and gender.Fabio Ferrucci is an Associate Professor of Sociology of Culture and Sociology of Education at the Faculty of Human Sciences of the University of Molise (Italy). His research focuses on the family, social policy and non-profit sector. He is the author of several articles on childhood and family policies in Italy.Cristina Figuer holds a Master's in Psychology and is currently a doctoral student in the Psychology and Quality of Life Program and researcher of the Institute on Quality of Life at the University of Girona, Spain.Kevin M. Fitzpatrick is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama. His primary research focus is on health-compromising behavior among children and adolescents. In addition, he continues his work examining the role of environments and their impact on the mental health and well-being of homeless, youth, and other high-risk populations.Mònica González holds a Master's in Psychology and is currently a doctoral student in the Psychology and Quality of Life Program and researcher of the Institute on Quality of Life at the University of Girona, Spain.Daniela Grignoli is a Researcher at the Department of Economics, Management and Social Sciences of the University of Molise (Italy). She teaches Sociological Methodology and conducts research on children and new technologies.Mireia Gusó holds a Master's in Economics and is currently a researcher of the Institute on Quality of Life at the University of Girona, Spain.Patrick Heuveline is Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Chicago, and Research Associate at the Population Research Center, NORC and the University of Chicago. His research centers on the family as an adaptive institution and its key role in linking macro-level changes and individual behaviors. He is currently studying the consequences of mortality change in Cambodia and in high HIV-prevalence populations in Southern Africa. In addition, he is launching an international study of the effects of the relationship between the family and the State on youth well being across Western countries.Harry H. Hiller is Professor of Sociology at the University of Calgary. His specialization is dealing with macro-level questions about Canadian Society and he is the author of Canadian Society: A Macro Analysis (Prentice-Hall, numerous editions). Dr. Hiller's and Verna Chow's contribution to this volume stems from a mutual interest in second-generation immigrants and their adaptation to Canadian Society, which officially proclaims itself as multicultural.David A. Kinney received his Ph.D. in Sociology from Indiana University-Bloomington and did post-doctoral work at the University of Chicago. He is currently Associate Professor of Sociology at Central Michigan University and an affiliate faculty member at the Center for the Ethnography of Everyday Life at the University of Michigan. In addition to being the current Co-Series Editor of the Sociological Studies of Children and Youth with Katherine Brown Rosier, his publications have appeared in Sociology of Education, Youth and Society, Personal Relationships During Adolescence (Sage), and New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development (Jossey-Bass). He is currently conducting ethnographic research with children and their parents in a study of how families manage work, home life, and children's activity involvement in a fast-paced society.Ethel Volfzon Kosminsky, Professor of Sociology at Sao Paulo State University (UNESP) – Marilia, has been a recipient of research grants from the Brazilian organization CNPq and was a Fulbright grantee in the U.S. in 1995. Chair of the Graduate Program of Social Sciences at UNESP-Marilia from 2000 to 2004, she currently leads the Center of Studies of Children and Adolescents at UNESP-Marilia, and the Network for the Study of Latin American Children and Youth.Madeleine Leonard is a Reader in Sociology at the School of Sociology and Social Policy, Queen's University, Belfast. Her research interests fall within the broad remit of the “new sociology” of childhood and she has conducted research with children on a wide range of topics including their experiences of poverty, their experiences of paid employment and their participation in domestic labor within the household. Her current research concerns Protestant and Catholic children growing up along one of the most contentious peace-lines in Belfast and the research examines children's roles as political actors in Northern Irish society.Antonio Mancini is a Junior Researcher at the Department of Economics, Management and Social Sciences of the University of Molise (Italy). He is the author of several articles on children's rights. He has also co-edited a book about the rights of the children.Hyunjoon Park is a Doctoral Candidate in Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research focuses on the process of transition to adulthood, particularly among young people in East Asia, across several dimensions including educational and occupational attainment. Currently, he is working on a dissertation project that compares the effects of family and school on educational achievement among 15-year olds in 30 countries using the PISA data. Recent publications include “Age and Self-Rated Health in Korea: A Research Note” (Social Forces, forthcoming) and “Racial/Ethnic Differences in Voluntary and Involuntary Job Mobility among Young Men” (with Gary Sandefur, Social Science Research, 2003).Bettina F. Piko, M.D., Ph.D., graduated from medical school in 1991, then started her career in the field of public health. In the meantime, she earned an M.A. degree in sociology and a Ph.D. in health psychology and behavioral sciences. Currently she is an associate professor of behavioral sciences at the University of Szeged Hungary, and her research activities embrace research topics from psychosocial youth development, substance use and problem behavior, up to psychosocial work environment, social support and societal stress.Samantha Punch is a Lecturer in Sociology in the Department of Applied Social Science at Stirling University. She recently completed a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship during which time she conducted a study of children's experiences of sibling relationships and birth order in the U.K. Prior to this, she worked with Roger Fuller, Christine Hallett and Cathy Murray on the project “Young People and Welfare: Negotiating Pathways” which explored Scottish children's problems and their coping strategies, as part of the ESRC's Children 5–16 Programme. Her doctoral research included two years of ethnographic fieldwork on rural childhoods in Bolivia where she investigated the ways in which children and young people negotiate their autonomy at home, school, work and play.Marina Rago is a Junior Researcher at the Department of Economics, Management and Social Sciences of the University of Molise (Italy). She is currently involved in research projects on the implementation of children's rights.Katherine Brown Rosier is currently Associate Professor of Sociology at Central Michigan University. She published Mothering Inner-City Children in 2000 with Rutgers University Press and is currently the Co-Series Editor of the Sociological Studies of Children and Youth with David Kinney. Other publications have appeared in The Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, Human Development, The Journal of Comparative Family Studies, and several other journals and edited volumes. While continuing to write on experiences of low-income African-American children and families, she is also conducting research and writing a book with colleague Scott L. Feld on Louisiana's Covenant Marriage.Carles Rostan is Professor of Developmental Psychology in the Faculty of Education and Psychology at the University of Girona, Spain and researcher of the Institute on Quality of Life. His primary research interests are on children's development and children's rights.Marta Sadurní is Professor of Developmental Psychology in the Faculty of Education and Psychology at the University of Girona, Spain. She is researcher of the Institute on Quality of Life. Her primary research interests are on children's development and children's rights.Gary D. Sandefur is Professor of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His publications include Growing Up with a Single Parent (Harvard University Press, 1994) with Sara McLanahan, “What Happens after the High School Years among Young Persons with Disabilities,” Social Forces, 82 (2003), 803–832 with Thomas Wells and Dennis Hogan, and “Off to a Good Start? Postsecondary Education and Early Adult Life,” in Richard Settersten, Frank Furstenberg, and Ruben Rumbaut (Eds), On the Frontier of Adulthood: Theory, Research, and Public Policy, University of Chicago Press, forthcoming with Jennifer Eggerling-Boeck and Hyunjoon Park. He is currently working on quantitative and qualitative analyses of the transition to adulthood in the United States and other countries.Angelo Saporiti is Professor of Sociology at the Faculty of Economics of the University of Molise (Italy). Dr. Saporiti also teaches Social Ethics, and is the author of books and articles on children's rights. Angelo Saporiti is involved in various research international networks on childhood sociology and children's rights.Jeffrey M. Timberlake is Assistant Professor of Sociology and Research Associate at the Kunz Center for the Study of Work and Family at the University of Cincinnati. He primarily studies the causes and consequences of urban inequality, particularly race-ethnic residential segregation. Current projects include analyzing data from the 1970 to 2001 Panel Study of Income Dynamics and the 1970 to 2000 U.S. Censuses to estimate racial inequality in children's neighborhood socioeconomic status. In addition to his work with Patrick Heuveline on comparative family demography, he is also conducting several studies of race-ethnic attitudes in America.Darlene Romania Wright is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Birmingham-Southern College. Her primary research interests pertain to adolescent health-compromising behavior. Her current research is on the effects of social capital on violent behavior among secondary school students.

Details

Sociological Studies of Children and Youth
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-76231-183-5

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Book part
Publication date: 12 August 2009

Madeleine Leonard

Childhood is often defined in contrast to adulthood. Each becomes meaningfully linked so that it is difficult to understand what childhood is without looking at adulthood…

Abstract

Childhood is often defined in contrast to adulthood. Each becomes meaningfully linked so that it is difficult to understand what childhood is without looking at adulthood or vice versa. Each becomes what the other is not. In a similar vein, structure and agency are often characterised in contrast to each other. The meaning of each becomes dependent on the meaning of the concept which it is set against. Hence, structure becomes defined as ‘constraint while agency becomes defined as freedom, structure is regarded as static while agency is regarded as active; structure becomes defined as collective while agency becomes defined as individual’ (Hays, 1994, p. 57). This way of conceptualising structure and agency often underplays the interconnections between the two. Up until the 1980s, children were primarily considered within developmental psychology and functionalist socialisation frameworks. The former presented childhood as a natural and universal phase of human life with adulthood being seen as the logical endpoint of childhood. The latter adopting teleological frameworks viewed childhood as a preparation for adulthood and focused in particular on the importance of socialisation in reproducing stable adult personalities. In both approaches, children were considered mainly in terms of presumed future outcomes. In breaking with these approaches, the ‘new sociology of childhood’ sought to emphasise children's agency and to consider children's lives in the here and now rather than as future projects. This has resulted in a plethora of qualitative studies that highlight children's position as active agents. Indeed, in developing a new paradigm for the sociology of childhood, Prout and James (1997) specifically recommend ethnography as a preferred method for uncovering and understanding children's daily lives. This has led Qvortrup (1999, p. 3) to express concern that the ‘adherents of the agency approach are gaining the upper hand’. Qvortrup warns that researchers also need to employ structural approaches to fully understand and illuminate the broader landscape of childhood. He reminds us that childhood is a particular and distinctive form of every society's social structure. Rather than a transient phase, it is a permanent social category shaped by macro forces. While of course children practice agency throughout their childhood and ethnographic studies have been crucial in challenging adults’ conceptions of children as irrational, immature and so on, nonetheless, Qvortrup argues that these studies have been less useful in illuminating the position of childhood in macro societal structures. These wider societal forces position children as a minority group conditioned by resilient power relations based on generation, and they have been relatively immune from children's individual or collective agency. In other words, children act as agents under specific structural conditions. Of course, this does not render children's agency as meaningless. Like adults, children actively produce certain forms of social structure, while simultaneously, social structures produce certain types of childhood (see the chapter by Qvortrup, this volume). Hence, structures are enabling as well as constraining (Giddens, 1984). Indeed over the past two decades, adults are becoming increasingly aware of childhood as a structural form and of the durability of power differentials between adults and children and are increasingly working with children to develop a rights-based agenda to further their collective interests. This could be seen as an example of the collective agency of children although it also illustrates how this agency takes place against a backdrop where existing hierarchies between adults and children structure the conditions under which children practice their agency. One could question whether participating in these recurring forms of social interaction make children agents (Hays, 1994, p. 63).

Details

Structural, Historical, and Comparative Perspectives
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84855-732-1

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Book part
Publication date: 2 June 2005

Madeleine Leonard

One of the most notable breakthroughs in promoting the right of children to be consulted about policies that affect them is the UNCRC (United Nations Convention on the…

Abstract

One of the most notable breakthroughs in promoting the right of children to be consulted about policies that affect them is the UNCRC (United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, General Assembly of the United Nations, 1989). At the time of writing, the UNCRC has been ratified by all but two (Somalia and the USA) member states of United Nations. The Convention was ratified by the United Kingdom in 1991 and according to Daniel and Ivatts (1998, p. 16) “it is arguably the most significant development in United Kingdom policy towards children since 1945.” By ratifying the Convention, governments must take steps to ensure that they meet the standards and principles set out in the various Articles in the Convention and must provide regular reports to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child on its implementation. One of the most significant Articles is Article 12 which specifies that:State Parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child (General Assembly of the United Nations, 1989).This Article has found its way into United Kingdom social policy through the introduction of the Children's Act in 1989 (this Act was extended to Northern Ireland in 1995). This provides children in care or children whose parents are going through a divorce some involvement in the decision-making process. The Children's Rights Development Unit which monitors the United Kingdom implementation of the Convention has made Article 12 the primary focus of its work (Shier, 2001). This is partly due to the reaction of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (1995) to the United Kingdom's first report. The Committee identified a number of gaps in the implementation of children's rights particularly in the area of participation rights. Indeed, children's voices remain largely absent in many areas of social policy particularly those relating to education and health (Daniel & Ivatts, 1998). As Hill and Tisdall (1997, p. 256) put it “the rhetoric of children's participation is easier and cheaper than its effective implementation.” Involving children in policy throws up all sorts of issues relating to the participation of children in the decision-making process. What does adopting a child-centred approach to children's role in decision-making entail? How do we ensure that children's views are effectively incorporated in the policy-making arena? How do we find out about the views and perceptions of children in relation to whatever issue is being debated? As Hill and Tisdall (1997) point out, involving children in social policy often gets narrowly translated to listening sympathetically to their views rather than considering them as a social group capable of influencing policy and practice. Yet organisations, which promote the rights of children, such as Save the Children, argue that more meaningful social policies will evolve from taking on board the perspectives of those who are influenced by such policies. One useful model that could be employed to ensure that children effectively participate in research linked to social policy is Hart's ladder of participation (1992). A survey of children's organisations throughout the United Kingdom in their attempts to introduce mechanisms to ensure that their policies and decisions take more account of children's opinions revealed that Hart's model played a significant role in their strategies to involve children in policy related research (Barn & Franklin, 1996). Academic researchers have also utilised Hart's ladder as a framework for advocating approaches to enhance the participation of children in the research process (Landsdown, 1995; Shier, 2001; Verhellen, 1997). The purpose of this paper is to examine the usefulness of Hart's model in involving children in social policy related research concerning the Eleven Plus system in Northern Ireland.

Details

Sociological Studies of Children and Youth
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-76231-183-5

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Article
Publication date: 6 September 2011

Erik van Ommering

The purpose of this paper is to propose a new approach to understanding the interrelationships between education and violent conflict, namely, one that focuses on the…

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1108

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to propose a new approach to understanding the interrelationships between education and violent conflict, namely, one that focuses on the multifaceted, context‐specific impact of conflict on school communities and departs from the lived experiences of teachers and students in conflict‐affected places.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is based on ethnographic, child‐centred research in elementary schools in Lebanon. It explores how the 2006 war between Hezbollah and Israel and subsequent internal sectarian strife in Lebanon have shaped the ways in which school communities confront issues of violence and identity.

Findings

By viewing the relationship between education and violent conflict as multifaceted and context‐dependent, this paper elicits how schools may become complicit in the continuing of violent conflict, rather than supporting its ending. It shows how teachers' pleas for peace are overruled by political conflict, partly as a result of children's engagement with politics. The paper argues for grounding educational interventions in children's lived realities so as to optimise their capacities for bridging differences and shaping a better future.

Originality/value

The lived experiences of students and teachers in conflict zones have rarely been exposed. On the basis of anthropological research, this paper offers original and critical insights into the interrelationships between education and violent conflict, based on the perspectives of elementary school students and their educators.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 31 no. 9/10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 6 September 2011

Suzanne H. Hammad

The purpose of this paper is to explore and illuminate the various ways in which different generations experience and interpret their home and land in one divided…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore and illuminate the various ways in which different generations experience and interpret their home and land in one divided Palestinian village in the West Bank.

Design/methodology/approach

The study is based on mental maps, walk‐alongs and semi‐structured interviews.

Findings

The paper explores the intergenerational geographies of adults and children from one household located in the village of Bilin and outlines the dynamics of continuity and change in their attitudes to and experiences of contested place and space.

Originality/value

The paper suggests that generational perspectives are essential for acquiring a holistic, meaningful understanding of the complexities and subtleties of contested places.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 31 no. 9/10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 25 September 2020

Vita Yakovlyeva

Although the relation between individual and collective memory has been long established, analysis of individual memories is hardly existent within the social sciences…

Abstract

Although the relation between individual and collective memory has been long established, analysis of individual memories is hardly existent within the social sciences outside of psychoanalysis and developmental psychology. Working to overcome this gap, the author argues that children’s lives are heavily influenced by the structures of collective memory they are born into, available to children through the complex system of inter- and intragenerational relationships from very early on.

Drawing on the concepts of generation (Karl Mannheim), generagency (Madelaine Leonard), and collective memory (Maurice Halbwachs), the author establishes that the practise of intergeneratonal exchange of memories within the family provides a way to influence and overcome the limiting of children’s agency by social stratification determined by age.

Details

Bringing Children Back into the Family: Relationality, Connectedness and Home
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83867-197-6

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Article
Publication date: 6 September 2011

Lucille Grétry

The aim of the paper is to present some events in the life of ex‐child soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in relation to the social policy in place and the…

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1180

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of the paper is to present some events in the life of ex‐child soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in relation to the social policy in place and the social representation of child soldiers and childhood in the country. The paper presents an overall picture of the different interventions used with child soldiers in Kinshasa, some elements of the social representation of the child soldier, and finally three stages in a child soldier's life, which bring into question those representations.

Design/methodology/approach

The study used a qualitative approach including general informal observation, semi‐directive interviews, focus groups based on drawings and inquired‐investigator exercises with 45 ex‐child soldiers in three towns in DRC. Finally 12 interviews, based on the image classification exercise were carried out with Congolese adults belonging to the middle class in Kinshasa.

Findings

The paper suggests that child soldiers are represented as passive victims, while the reality of their life shows their capacity for action and decision.

Research limitations/implications

Because of the continuing fighting inside DRC, part of the population is not accessible.

Practical implications

The paper includes implications for actions by the NGO sector or other kinds of aid organization.

Originality/value

First, the paper uses new tools for collecting data from children. Second, it presents a study of a subject that, whilst being widely popularized through the media, lacks adequate scientific research. Third, the paper brings into question the Western point of view of the experience of child soldiers.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 31 no. 9/10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

Keywords

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