STREAM: Raising Children in Times of Hardship

STREAM: Raising Children in Times of Hardship

Raising children is a significant challenge. Throughout their child-rearing career, most parents/guardians are, at some stage, confronted with the very fundamentals of existence, survival, identity and culture. Raising children is also a political endeavour, as parents/guardians are implicated in, indeed responsible for, shaping future generations, societies and cultures. Despite the central position of the family in most African societies, many people across the continent face the challenges of raising children in times of acute hardship. Displacement, violence and conflict, natural disasters (such as floods, droughts, landslides or volcano eruptions), political instability, poverty, HIV/AIDS and other incurable diseases, alcohol/drug abuse, single-parent families, and child-headed families are among the issues affecting hundreds of thousands of people raising children in Africa. Moreover, the longer-term trauma caused by colonial and neo-colonial identity destruction continue to affect the lives of African people and families. As most postcolonial theorists agree, the legacy of colonialism is more than economic difficulty but also indelible social, cultural and psychological wounds. In some countries, colonial identity destruction has resulted in conflict, genocide and/or other collective traumatic experiences. Raising children after such calamities raises questions about intergenerational trauma, societal reconstruction, peace and reconciliation, and the future.

Panel examples

This stream welcomes panels and papers that address the topic of raising children in times of hardship, across a range of African contexts. Suggested themes include (but are not limited to) identity, conflict and violence, intergenerational trauma, gender, colonialism and post-colonialism, poverty, HIV/AIDS, future generations/societies.

If you have any queries or suggestions please contact Caroline Williamson, University College Cork ( , Maja Haals Brosnan, London School of Economics ( , Claver Irakoze, Aegis Trust (  For panel and paper submissions please follow the instructions on the website 

Photo credit: Maja Haals

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