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Intergenerational Relationships and Expectations Among Urban Affluent and Peasant Families in Ethiopia: Children’s Perspectives Thesis
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This thesis explores children’s relationships with parents and family members in Ethiopia. It examines expectations and intergenerational relationships among affluent and peasant families in two settings: Addis Ababa and rural Dangila, Ethiopia. The thesis looks into the values that are embedded in contemporary childhood in Ethiopia and how those values shape familial expectations placed on children and thus intergenerational relationships. Within the context of the relationships children and parents have, childing (the act of being a child) and the various positions children assume as well as the nature of the relationships they have with parents and family members are explored and analyzed. The two contrasting study settings were chosen to shed light on the diversities and commonalities of intergenerational relationships and childhoods in Ethiopia. To generate data, I carried out seven months of ethnographic fieldwork where both children and parents were informants. Semi-structured interviews, diary, story writing, key informant interview, informal talk, and semi-participant observation were used for generation of data. These methods were applied to bring children’s perspectives to the center of the research and position children as the primary informants about their own lives. The methods also helped to shed light on the everyday context of the children’s lives and the roles they take in that context. In the urban affluent families in Addis Ababa, children’s everyday lives is a reflection of the socio-economic status of parents and the technical and material conditions in which children grow up, whereas in the peasant families in Dangila, daily life mirrors the complex socio-economic and cultural responsibilities children hold within their families and community. The thesis presents its findings in three articles published in Childhood, Children and Society and Children’s Geographies, accompanied by four chapters that discuss theory, methodology context and synthesis of the findings. The outcomes of the research bridge the gap in our understanding of how local familial and community ideologies and expectations of childhood are encountered by children and families in Ethiopia. It gives valuable insights into (1) How complex and diverse childhoods in Ethiopia are in terms of bearing socio-economic and cultural meanings from parents, families, and community members; (2) How values placed on children shape their lives and have implications for the ways in which children act in their everyday lives; (3) How the social norms of the act of being a child, which are defined by the differing valuations of children and childhoods, shape intergenerational relationships; and (4). How children navigate social expectations linked to relocation in different familial and community settings and the ways in which child relocation is an integral aspect of social reproduction and child upbringing. The research shows that values and expectations are not the only parts of the equation that contribute to how the everyday life of children unfolds in contemporary Ethiopia.
Has partsArticle 1: Kassa, Sophia C. Negotiating intergenerational relationships and social expectations in childhood in rural and urban Ethiopia. Childhood 2016 ;Volum 23.(3) s. 394-409 https://doi.org/10.1177/0907568216637655
Article 2: Kassa, Sophia C. Drawing Family Boundaries: Children's Perspectives on Family Relationships in Rural and Urban Ethiopia. Children & society 2017 ;Volum 31.(3) s. 171-182 https://doi.org/10.1111/chso.12200|
Article 3: Kassa, Sophia C; Abebe, Tatek. Qenja: child fostering and relocation practices in Amhara region, Ethiopia. Children's Geographies 2016 ;Volum 14.(1) s. 46-62 https://doi.org/10.1080/14733285.2014.974508