n Institute of African Studies Research Review - Becoming an adult : the training of children in Ghana




The paper explores socialisation practices of parents (and other significant adults) of pre-teens to suggest some of the ways in which gender identities might be reproduced from one generation to the next and might contribute to the reproduction of gendered patterns of privilege and subordination. Specifically we explore three socialisation practices : rewards, punishments and consciously-modeled behaviours or instructions, looking also at whether parents distinguish between sons and daughters in their application. The study used data from interviews with adults living in two towns in the Eastern Region of Ghana. Parents indicated that the most common training method used was the issuing of verbal instructions. Punishments were also an important form of training and included physical chastisement, particularly to instil compliance in young children and boys. Parents were generally inclined to believe that girls are more obedient and hence need less punishing. Although parents believed that giving rewards is effective in ensuring that children practiced or pursued certain household chores, gender related roles and adopted family life values, it appeared not to be practised widely or consistently. Our results seem to indicate that intergenerational transmission of (gendered) identities occurs through gendered training that goes beyond the issuing of instructions.


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