In Earlier Days Everyone Could Discipline Children, Now They Have Rights: Notions of Responsibility in Focus Group Discussions about Care Giving in urban Tanzania
2014 (English)In: Journal of Community and Applied Social Phychology, ISSN 1052-9284, E-ISSN 1099-1298, Vol. 24, no 3, 191-204 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
The title of this paper ‘In earlier days we could discipline our children, now they have rights’ is a citation from a focus group discussion undertaken with a group of adult caregivers in Tanzania regarding their guidance and control of their children. It illustrates a dilemma that some caregivers are struggling to make sense of within the current discursive order on the guidance and control of children. In a previous study regarding discipline strategies in urban Tanzania, we have found a discourse regarding the necessity of using corporal punishment in order to properly raise children, findings which are in line with other studies indicating the frequent use of corporal punishment as discipline strategy in East Africa. On a different note, there is an ideological call for change for children and the Government, as well as civil society organizations and other international and bilateral organizations use the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) to argue for the importance of improving the conditions of childhood in Tanzania. The new Child Act (United Republic of Tanzania, 2009) is a landmark in this process as it significantly strengthens the legal rights of the child. It also represents an ideological position in terms of child-adult relationships, regulating the responsibilities of both caregivers and children. In terms of guidance and control of children, the wording of the act was a field of ideological debate concerning the issue of corporal punishment, with some stakeholders advocating for the total ban of corporal punishment. The endorsed version of the Child Act regulates the manner of administering discipline on children but it does not explicitly prohibit corporal punishment.
It has been argued that the CRC represents an ideological and moralist discourse about childhood, based on Western ideals of an individualistic society and that it disregards the interdependence of human beings. Scholars have further raised concerns regarding the changing nature of childhood related to national development and globalization arguing that, rather than regarding individuals as constituted and fixed, vested with certain rights, it is necessary to focus on the relations in which identities are constructed and how these relationships are co-created by individuals in local space.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Wiley-Blackwell, 2014. Vol. 24, no 3, 191-204 p.
Caregiving, Discipline, Ideological dilemmas, Children’s Rights, Tanzania
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-76516DOI: 10.1002/casp.2160ISI: 000335662500002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-76516DiVA: diva2:514907