Childhood at latitude zero: revealing Sao Tome and Principe children’s play culture

by Marlene Barra

01 Jun 2022
Journal of the British Academy
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Number of pages
27 (pp. 83-109)

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Abstract: In the scope of the sociology of childhood, the aim is to present one of the diverse sociocultural worlds of African children, specifically their play culture, with the intention to reveal Sao Tome and Principe childhood’s daily life dimensions by considering those in which children are specialised and thrilled to talk about: games, play and toys. With the support of postcolonial studies, the present research points out that Santomean children from this African country, which lies at latitude zero on the equator, are literally living in between two worlds: simultaneously handling the challenge of being a child in their own society (adult-centrism) as well as defying the standardised Western childhood imposed by occidental hegemonic institutions (Eurocentrism). Nevertheless, it seems that African children’s actions, resilience, creativity, and intelligence, can be linked to cultures of subversion and resistance, in challenging social inequalities and fighting for social justice—like counter-hegemonic struggles.

Keywords: Sociology of childhood, postcolonial studies, Sao Tome and Principe, play culture.

Article posted to Journal of the British Academy, volume 10, supplementary issue 2 (Searching for the Everyday in African Childhoods).

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