International Journal of Anthropology

, Volume 16, Issue 2–3, pp 171–181 | Cite as

The moral understandings of urban children in sub-Saharan Africa. Some preliminary observations

  • Tanner R. E. S. 
  • Pawson C. J. 


Contemporary research regarding children's moral development has consistently cited the influential role of social experience and interaction. It is hypothesised that the child's environment will provide social experiences which once processed and catalogued, lead to the formation of moral concepts. Accepting the diversity of childhood experience globally, one might conclude that there will be similar diversity in children's moral understanding. In order to further our understanding of moral development, it is important to gain as much context-specific data from the child's perspective as possible. Research has often failed to recongnise the extent to which the child exists in an environment entirely unique to the individual. This is particularly the case in many metropolitan areas where rapid urbanization has created extreme challenges and experiences for many children. The authors of this paper propose an analytical framework employing five scales of data collection. Applied to sub-Saharan Africa, the approach aims to show the importance of allowing for the diversity of children's experience and amplifying the child's perspective if the boundaries of research in this field are to be expanded.

Key words

Moral children urban Africa ethnic research 


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Copyright information

© International Institute for the Study of Man 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tanner R. E. S. 
    • 1
  • Pawson C. J. 
    • 2
  1. 1.The footprint, Padworth CommonBerksUK
  2. 2.Dept of PsychologyUniversity of East LondonLondonUK

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