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Children and the experience of violence: contrasting cultures of punishment in northern Nigeria

Last, M; (2000) Children and the experience of violence: contrasting cultures of punishment in northern Nigeria. Africa , 70 (3) 359 - 393. 10.3366/afr.2000.70.3.359. Green open access

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Abstract

Arising out of debates over ‘children at risk’ and the ‘rights of the child’, the article compares two contrasting childhoods within a single large society—the Hausa‐speaking peoples of northern Nigeria. One segment of this society—the non‐Muslim Maguzawa—refuse to allow their children to be beaten; the other segment, the Muslim Hausa, tolerate corporal punishment both at home and especially in Qur'anic schools. Why the difference? Economic as well as political reasons are offered as reasons for the rejection of corporal punishment while it is argued that, in the eyes of Muslim society in the cities, the threat of punishment is essential for both educating and ‘civilising’ the young by imposing the necessary degree of discipline and self‐control that are considered the hallmark of a good Muslim. In short, ‘cultures of punishment’ arise out of specific historical conditions, with wide variations in the degree and frequency with which children actually suffer punishment, and at whose hands. Finally the question is raised whether the violence experienced in schooling has sanctioned in the community at large a greater tolerance of violence‐as‐‘punishment’.

Type:Article
Title:Children and the experience of violence: contrasting cultures of punishment in northern Nigeria
Open access status:An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI:10.3366/afr.2000.70.3.359
Publisher version:http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/afr.2000.70.3.359
Language:English
Additional information:Copyright © International African Institute 2000
Keywords:children, culture, EXPERIENCE
UCL classification:UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences > Anthropology

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