ISSN 1753-0849

Childhoods Today Online JournalChildhoods Today

An online journal for childhood studies

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Volume 1 Issue 1 - July 27, 2007

Trapped between disparate worlds? The livelihoods, socialisation and school contexts of rural children in Ethiopia

by Tatek Abebe

This paper explores the relationships between the livelihoods and education or schooling of rural school-age boys and girls in Gedeo, southern Ethiopia. Based on empirical material derived from seven months of qualitative fieldwork, it demonstrates the unique positions children find themselves in due to shifting livelihoods and changing processes of socialisation. The paper documents multiple contradictions between children’s experiences today and what they are required to know in order to become adult members of society, and between their aspirations in life and their real life experiences. It is argued that children’s daily experiences at work and within their families is essential for meeting the requirements in order to earn a living locally. However, this process has come under pressure, in some instances even being discontinued, due to altered sources of livelihoods and inappropriate school education. The findings of the study suggest that children’s perspectives and their livelihoods should be at the heart of contemporary debate on educational reform in Ethiopia.

An Ethnography of Children's Participation in Domestic Work in Nicosia

by Loucas Antoniou

The paper presents preliminary findings on children's participation in domestic work in Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus. It attempts to conceptualize the division of housework in terms of gender, birth rank as well as in terms of children's social rhythms. The findings are based on the first twenty-five in-depth interviews with children aged 10-12. As the findings suggest, girls and first-born children do more work than same-age boys but differences also exist among different types of households. Often, first-born boys tend to perform more work than their younger siblings. Parents' attitudes and values towards work often influence, in one way or another, the extent, nature and commitment of children's participation in domestic work. The research aims to investigate the ways children and adults living in the same households negotiate housework rules and norms in order to understand the effects this has on the reproduction and change of family living.

Looking Forward: unaccompanied asylum-seekers leaving care

by Bianka Atlas

This paper is based on a small-scale qualitative study that explored the experiences of nine unaccompanied asylum-seeking children, examining their perspectives on their in-care experiences, preparation for leaving care, and after-care support. The research also enabled seven professionals to share their views on practice and policy affecting unaccompanied asylum-seeking children leaving care. The research showed that unaccompanied young people face considerable challenges in the transition from care towards independence and that practice falls short of the standard envisaged by the leaving care framework. This paper focuses on one aspect of the empirical research, leaving-care preparation, and highlights a range of inadequacies. The paper also highlights broader policy issues that create a challenging environment for service delivery to care-leavers with uncertain immigration status.

Researching Children's Morality: developing research methods that allow children's involvement in discourses relevant to their everyday lives

by Sam Frankel

Contemporary children's childhoods are full of discourses about children and right and wrong. However, the foundation for these moral debates is often based on adult assumptions about children rather than reliable knowledge obtained from them. This article therefore seeks to explore ways in which children can be involved in the research process, such that their voices can be heard. Through looking at a number of creative research tools, it argues that children can be competent and legitimate research partners within moral discourses, providing data that can inform more effective policy and practice.


by Pat Gordon-Smith