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Fifty Years of Family Change in Ghana (West Africa)

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  • UserProfessor Christine Oppong (Cambridge University alumna; Senior Member, Wolfson College, Cambridge): Adjunct Professor of Applied Anthropology, University of Ghana, Legon
  • ClockTuesday 03 December 2013, 18:00-19:00
  • HouseBeves Room, King's College, Cambridge, CB2 1ST.

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr Pauline Essah.

This seminar is part of the King's/Cambridge-Africa Seminar Series

Research on family relationships and systems in Ghana began during the colonial era. This seminar is based on the author’s own studies starting in 1962 and harks back to the earlier work of her Cambridge mentors. Recent ethnographic case studies by students from the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana also provide vivid illustrations of post modernity in the new millenium. The main subjects addressed are social and biological reproduction, demographic innovation and child development. A dynamic element is added by the study of relative resources, power and decision making, as well as evidence of role stress, strain and conflict. The mixed methods used, frameworks for analysis devised and multidisciplinary approaches adopted are indicated. Finally and briefly the precarious post modern relationships described and the alarming outcomes observed for under fives are compared and contrasted with parallel evidence on families and children from the UK. Attention is called to the powerful contextual effects in both countries of structurally adjusted economies, population mobility, deregulated institutions, neoliberal, individualistic and materialistic values, the individuation of familial responsibilities, and increasing material inequality of the populations. In both places a crucial element for more effective neolocal family functioning, desired reproductive innovations and optimal child outcomes is the level of participation of men in the domestic domain.

This talk is part of the Cambridge-Africa Programme series.

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