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Ambiguous Childhoods: Peer Socialisation, Schooling and Agency in a Zambian Village

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Ambiguous Childhoods

Peer Socialisation, Schooling and Agency in a Zambian Village

Nana Clemensen

168 pages, 13 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78920-351-6 $120.00/£89.00 / Hb / Published (September 2019)

ISBN  978-1-80073-432-6 $29.95/£23.95 / Pb / Published (June 2022)

eISBN 978-1-78920-352-3 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit  Buy the eBook! $29.95info on epub formatRequest a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


“This is a well-written, accessible ethnographic case study of children’s everyday lives in Hang’ombe village in Zambia… a valuable addition to child-centred ethnography in Africa.” • Alice Mitchell, University of Bristol

“What is so exciting about this book is that it describes the entire experience of socialization for 6–10-year-old children in one Zambian village, placing their experience in school within the larger framework of both children and the adults in their lives. Not very many studies anywhere in the world do that.” • Kathryn Anderson-Levitt, University of Michigan-Dearborn


Growing up with social and economic upheaval in the peripheries of global neoliberalism, children in rural Zambia are presented with diverging social and moral protocols across homes, classrooms, church halls, and the streets. Mostly unmonitored by adults, they explore the ambiguities of adult life in playful interactions with their siblings and kin across gender and age. Drawing on rich linguistic-ethnographic details of such interactions combined with observations of school and household procedures, the author provides a rare insight into the lives, voices, and learning paths of children in a rural African setting.

Nana Clemensen is Associate Professor of Educational Anthropology at Aarhus University, Denmark. Her recent publications include Managing freedom: Children and parents negotiating safety and autonomy in a Copenhagen housing cooperative (Anthropology and Education Quarterly 2019).

Subject: Anthropology (General)SociologyDevelopment StudiesEducational Studies
Area: Africa


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