Spirit Children: Illness, Poverty, and Infanticide in Northern Ghana
In parts of West Africa, some babies and toddlers are considered spirit children—nonhumans sent from the forest to cause misfortune and destroy the family. These are usually deformed or ailing infants, the very young whose births coincide with tragic events, or children who display unusual abilities. In some of these cases, families seek a solution in infanticide. Many others do not.
Chinese academic traditions take zuo ren—self-fulfillment in terms of moral cultivation—as the ultimate goal of education. To many in contemporary China, however, the nation seems gripped by moral decay, the result of rapid and profound social change over the course of the twentieth century. Placing Chinese children, alternately seen as China’s greatest hope and derided as self-centered “little emperors,” at the center of her analysis, Jing Xu investigates the effects of these transformations on the moral development of the nation’s youngest generation.
In Zambia, due to the rise of tuberculosis and the closely connected HIV epidemic, a large number of children have experienced the illness or death of at least one parent. Children as Caregivers examines how well intentioned practitioners fail to realize that children take on active caregiving roles when their guardians become seriously ill and demonstrates why understanding children’s care is crucial for global health policy.
Using ethnographic methods, and listening to the voices of the young as well as adults, Jean Hunleth makes the caregiving work of children visible. She shows how children actively seek to “get closer” to ill guardians by providing good care. Both children and ill adults define good care as attentiveness of the young to adults’ physical needs, the ability to carry out treatment and medication programs in the home, and above all, the need to maintain physical closeness and proximity. Children understand that losing their guardians will not only be emotionally devastating, but that such loss is likely to set them adrift in Zambian society, where education and advancement depend on maintaining familial, reciprocal relationships. View a gallery of images from the book.
Crying for Our Elders: African Orphanhood in the Age of HIV and AIDS, is now shipping from the University of Chicago Press. Click HERE to access an order form for 20% off the list price. Then click on FILES and choose the EU or the US order form.
In Doing Style, Constantine V. Nakassis explores the world of youth and mass media in South India, where what Tamil youth call “style” anchors their day-to-day lives and media worlds. Through intimate ethnographic descriptions of college life in Tamil Nadu, Nakassis explores the complex ways that acts and objects of style such as brand fashion, English slang, and film representations express the multiple desires and anxieties of this generation, who live in the shadow of the promise of global modernity. Continue reading New book – Doing Style: Youth and Mass Mediation in South India→
Common Threads Publications is pleased to announce the launch of their ‘Playwork Classics’ series – unavailable and neglected historical texts written by the adventure playground pioneers and those involved in the development of playwork profession.
The first Playwork Classic, John Barron May’s Adventure in Play, is now available. Originally published in 1957, Adventure in Play is a report on one of the first experimental adventure playgrounds in the UK. Adventure in Play provides an engaging and sometimes challenging account of how the radical new concept of ‘adventure playground’ was first put into practice. In doing so it raises important questions about the development of today’s adventure playgrounds and the modern-day playwork profession which grew out of them.
Adventure in Play is essential reading for childhood historians, playwork students, sociology scholars and anybody interested in the development of play services for children from a historical perspective.