n Institute of African Studies Research Review - Value of children : effects of globalization on fertility behavior and child-rearing practices in Ghana




Why do people have children, or what values do they assign to having children and how does the value assigned to children reflect in the ways they are socialized? These are the two main questions this paper discusses from a theoretical point of view and as basis for generating hypotheses to be tested out within the Ghanaian cultural setting. The paper draws upon ideas emerging from an ongoing research project - Value of children (VOC) - which was initiated about 30 years ago in nine countries and is currently being replicated in some nine different countries. Of concern in the VOC-project is that African countries were neither included in the original studies, nor in the on-going replication studies. This is not to suggest that the issues addressed by the VOC-studies are of no relevance to Africa. On the contrary, problems of rapid population increase growth / in the presence of stagnant economies plus the burden of the HIV / AIDS epidemic in sub-Sahara Africa make Africa an ideal site to undertake such a study. The primary aim of this paper is therefore to raise some of the concerns about the implications of the VOC-study findings for Africa and in particular for Ghana, and perhaps more importantly to initiate a similar study in Ghana. To elucidate the relevance of VOC for Ghana, the paper examines some of the changes globalization has bought in Ghana and links these to fertility behavior and child-rearing practices.


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