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Title: The construction of childhood in Monipur : negotiating boundaries through activities
Author: Ahmed, Israt.
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 2003
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This thesis is an attempt to examine the practice of childhood in a slum in Dhaka called Monipur. Here, the ever changing social context allows both adults and children to negotiate new roles and status. The thesis also examines specific contexts where slum children's activities enable them to share power with adults in the household, making age irrelevant for children's identities. Although the research is based on Bangladesh, it is intended to be a contribution to anthropological debate regarding the cultural construction of childhood. Whereas children are presented in some sociological writings as cultural dopes, my approach here is to study children as social agents who shape and are shaped by the wider socio-political context. The principle aim of this study is to explore discourses of appropriate childhood behaviour and authority structures in the household that position children in a certain way. I show how children display-signs of maturity-through conformity, which empower them with hidden strengths to negotiate with the authority structure in the family. In addition, adults' precarious social position persuades them to be more open and embrace children's new role as contributors. My study concentrates on areas such as: the nature of the domestic economy in the slum, children's bargaining position and new child-centred practices which create new meaning of status and rank. All these factors are crucial for recognizing poor children in Bangladesh in a new way that reflect on their social mobility and modernity. The thesis consists of an introductory chapter on theory and methods and six more empirical chapters, which examine childcare practices, attitudes toward children and children's participation into the adult prescribed world. In chapter 11 outline the theoretical framework for my analysis of childhood in Monipur, associated with the methodology I have adopted in the research. In the first empirical part of the thesis (chapter 2,3 and 4) I examine relationship within the household and the wider neighbourhood 4brough which slum people organize their social lives in Monipur. This wider context indicates how people embrace change in gender roles and position through precarious social experience. In the second part of the thesis (chapter 5,6 and 7) I explore children's activities in Monipur that allow them to negotiate with adults to permit them more freedom and respect. Finally chapter 8 draws together my conclusions about the changing nature of childhood in Monipur and considers some of the wider implications for theory and practice
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available