ISSN 1753-0849

Childhoods Today Online JournalChildhoods Today

An online journal for childhood studies

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Volume 2 Issue 1 - June 24, 2008

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.

Children’s migration for work in Bangladesh: The extra- and intra-household factors that shape ‘choice’ and ‘decision-making’

by Karin Heissler

This article presents findings from fieldwork carried out for my D.Phil thesis on ‘choice’ in children’s independent and internal migration for work in Bangladesh. On-going social and economic change, including expansions in education, increasing landlessness, and a ‘new’ tradition of dowry pressurize households in ways that impact on children’s migration for work. Household vulnerability, social position and class are important factors that shape –at the community level – which households have children who are more likely to migrate for work. However, intra-household factors and processes are central to understanding which children within households choose to migrate for work. The domestic cycle and demographic make-up of households influence whether and which children migrate for work. This process is gendered and aged. Despite having very narrow scope to exercise individual agency and power, child migrants do have ways and means of bending and manipulating the structures of gender, generation and class to serve their needs and/or aspirations.

Interviewing young children: protocol, practice and perception in police interviews

by Sarah Krähenbühl

Investigative interviewers usually interview children who witness or are victims of alleged criminal activity. Interviewing protocols have been established and revised in order to facilitate these interviews, which provide children’s evidence-in-chief for use in subsequent legal proceedings. Within these interviews some questions may be repeated which research has shown may lead to a change in the child’s subsequent response. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with four police interviewers to discuss their perception of their own interviewing practices, specifically in respect to the use of question repetition. A discrepancy was found between interviewing protocol guidance and implementation, and also between interviewers perceptions of their behaviour and actual interviewing practice. The implications for interviewing and interviewers are discussed.