ISSN 1753-0849

Childhoods Today Online JournalChildhoods Today

An online journal for childhood studies

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Volume 2 Issue 2 - December 23, 2008

Is respect an obstacle to or a facilitator of child participation? A study of children’s participation in the cultural context of Madagascar

Milfrid Tonheim

This article presents empirical data on child participation collected during ten months in Toliara, Madagascar. It focuses on how culture affects the parent-child relationship and the child’s notion of and experiences with participation. It further discusses how culturally required behaviour determines the possibility and level of child participation in decision-making processes at home. The particular focus is on which role respect plays in shaping the context of child participation in Madagascar. The article suggests that respect may serve both as a facilitator and as an obstacle to child participation. It points to different types of respect, and that respect’s effect on child participation seems to depend on the origin of or the basis for that respect.