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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Children and the Experience of Violence: Contrasting Cultures of Punishment in Northern Nigeria
Author:Last, MurrayISNI
Periodical:Africa: Journal of the International African Institute
Geographic terms:Nigeria
Northern Nigeria
corporal punishment
children's rights
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Law, Human Rights and Violence
Abstract:Arising out of debates over 'children at risk' and the 'rights of the child', this article compares two contrasting childhoods within a single society - the Hausa-speaking peoples of Northern Nigeria. One segment of this society, the non-Muslim Maguzawa, refuse to allow their children to be beaten; the other segment, the Muslim Hausa, tolerate corporal punishment both at home and especially in Koranic schools. Economic as well as political factors are offered as reasons for the rejection of corporal punishment while it is argued that, in the eyes of Muslim society in the cities, the threat of punishment is essential for both educating and 'civilizing' the young by imposing the necessary degree of discipline and self-control that are considered the hallmark of a good Muslim. In short, 'cultures of punishment' arise out of specific historical conditions, with wide variations in the degree and frequency with which children actually suffer punishment, and at whose hands. Finally the question is raised whether the violence experienced in schooling has sanctioned in the community at large a greater tolerance of violence-as-'punishment'. The data on which the article is based were collected in Northern Nigeria over the period 1961-1999 during research which focused primarily on other topics. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French.