Searching for the everyday in African childhoods: introduction

by Afua Twum-Danso Imoh, Peace Mamle Tetteh and Georgina Yaa Oduro

01 Jun 2022
Journal of the British Academy
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Number of pages
11 (pp. 1-11)

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Abstract: Much attention on childhoods and children’s lives in sub–Saharan Africa has focused on marginalised childhoods or children living in difficult circumstances. While the focus of these studies is valid, they have arguably contributed to portraying African childhoods in a rather negative and pessimistic light. Such an overwhelming focus on the challenges that much of the continent and its peoples face is problematic not least because it becomes the focus of many of the publications that are produced about the continent which are, then, in turn, consumed not only by academic colleagues, but also by students and other members of the public. The resulting outcome, then, is that the knowledge that is produced and then consumed about childhoods in sub–Saharan Africa by those living elsewhere is one which is characterised by lacks. Therefore, this special issue on African childhoods seeks to counter such dominant narratives that exist relating to childhoods and children’s lives in sub–Saharan Africa and instead, foreground the mundane and everyday existence of a range of children’s lives. By adopting such an approach this special issue contributes to illustrating the multiplicity of childhoods that exist on the continent. It is our hope that this will, in turn, highlight the pluralities of contemporary African childhoods and facilitate the process of moving beyond a one-dimensional understanding of childhoods and children’s lives in the region.

Keywords: childhood/children’s lives, the everyday, mundanities of children’s lives, Afro pessimism, sub-Saharan Africa.

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

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