Seen, heard and protected in their best interest: childhood construction within the worldview of the Fantse of Ghana

by Alex J. Wilson

01 Jun 2022
Journal of the British Academy
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Number of pages
19 (pp. 199-217)

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Abstract: Children in Africa are generally construed to be marginalised due to their minimal involvement in family decision-making processes. This article, which provides a worldview of childhood construction among the Fantse of Ghana, draws on the PhD dissertation and other research studies by the author and uses the social constructivist theory by Vygotsky and Meyer Fortes’ stages in the developmental cycle in domestic groups to explore children’s social standing. The expectation in the academy is that many of the worldviews in African societies should be waning. However, they prevail in some rural and urban communities in Ghana today. Significantly, the larger context of Fantse social systems promotes peer-learning and acculturation among children. Therefore, even though some children may be marginalised, the emphasis placed on children’s voices ensures their participation in decision-making in matters affecting them. This article recommends that Fantse social systems should be considered for ensuring compliance with child rights policies in Ghana.

Keywords: Childhood, children, community, domestic group, family, Fantse (Fante), Fortes, personhood, Ghana.

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

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