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Pain with Punishment and The Negotiation of Childhood: An Ethnographic Analysis of Children's Rights Processes in Maasailand

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 May 2011

Abstract

Children's rights activists contend that corporal punishment in schools is a form of child abuse which hinders children's learning. Yet most parents and teachers in Maasailand, Kenya consider corporal punishment, if properly employed, to be one of the most effective ways to instil the discipline necessary for children to learn and grow well. Responding to calls for a more empirical anthropology of rights, this article provides an ethnographic analysis of the practice of corporal punishment in domestic and primary school settings, exploring its pedagogical, developmental and social significance, and illuminating its role in the production and negotiation of identities and personhood.

Les militants des droits de l'enfant affirment que la pratique du châtiment corporel dans les écoles est une forme de maltraitance des enfants qui entrave leur apprentissage. Pourtant, la plupart des parents et des enseignants du Maasailand au Kenya considèrent les châtiments corporels, à condition de bien les utiliser, comme l'un des moyens les plus efficaces pour inculquer la discipline nécessaire à l'apprentissage et au développement des enfants. Répondant aux appels pour une anthropologie plus empirique des droits, cet article présente une analyse ethnographique de la pratique du châtiment corporel dans le cadre domestique et dans les écoles primaires, en explorant sa dimension pédagogique, développementale et sociale, et en apportant un éclairage sur son rôle dans la production et la négociation d'identité et de personnalité.

Type
Research Articles
Copyright
Copyright © International African Institute 2009

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