دیدگاه های کودکان آفریقای جنوبی درباره ثروت، فقر، نابرابری و بیکاری
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|36567||1999||20 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||7388 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : We examine child maltreatment among the 1982–1988 birth cohorts in Illinois specific to three categories of maltreatment allegations: sexual abuse, other types of abuse, and neglect. Using multinomial logit regression, we examine the effects of seven inde, Volume 20, Issue 5, October 1999, Pages 593–612
The aim of this study is to investigate the understanding of wealth, poverty, inequality and unemployment in South African Black (African) children aged 7, 9, 11 and 14 drawn from a rural, an urban and a semi-urban setting. Two hundred and twenty-five children (80 rural, 60 urban and 85 semi-urban) were interviewed individually in Setswana, their mother tongue. The urban children were living in a township in Pretoria, the semi-urban and the rural in the North West Province. The results show that the particulars of the children’s knowledge about wealth, poverty, inequality and unemployment were influenced by their social environment. However, in line with previous studies, the results show that the children’s capacity to make inferences and integrate information about these concepts is more influenced by age than by their social milieu.
1. Introduction Most of the growing body of research into economic socialisation has been based within the neo-Piagetian tradition and describes stages which children have to pass through in order to gain a full understanding of a specific economic concept. Researchers differ on the number of stages required to achieve a full understanding, but as Furnham (1996) in a recent review points out, the emerging trend in recent studies is to summarise them into three levels, these being (1) no understanding (2) understanding of some isolated concepts (3) linking of isolated concepts to full understanding. This stage approach has been criticised on the grounds that it limits the process of economic socialisation to a purely cognitive developmental one without taking into account the effects of the social and cultural influences. However, as Roland-Lévy (1990) argues, alternative approaches are not mutually exclusive: the cognitive-developmental approach “stresses intra-individual differences as the child grows up while the environmental learning approach is more successful in describing inter-individual variations at the same age. Both theories assume that contacts with social reality are necessary for the building up of a predictable pattern of behaviour” (Roland-Lévy, 1990, p. 471). Hence the importance of the child’s social milieu as a determinant variable in cognitive development is not denied. The building of knowledge can therefore be seen as a socio-cognitive process, which relies significantly on the culture and circumstances in which the child lives. This does not mean that the child is a passive recipient of cultural values or norms, but that through direct experience and in communication with others in society, the child actively constructs his or her own knowledge of the world. In the words of Stacey (1982, p. 161): “The development of socio-economic understanding can be conceptualised as an active and continuous process in which the young person constructs and tests ideas, knowledge, theories and practices”. The present study explores the linked concepts of wealth, inequality and unemployment held by South African Black (African) children. Previous studies of this domain have been particularly valuable as they have gone beyond simply giving stage descriptions of the development of economic concepts and provided evidence relevant to two models of socialisation. Thus functionalist models (e.g. Parsons, 1960), which would predict considerable uniformity among the classes as to the nature and explanation of the causes of wealth and inequality, have been partially supported by studies such as those by Connel (1979), who found no consistent class differences in Australian children's reactions to inequality and Leahy (1981) who found few class differences in children's descriptions of rich and poor people. By way of contrast, dialectical models would predict considerable class differences as children construct the meaning of being rich and poor from their dealings with their immediate social environment. There is a considerable body of evidence for this view. Furnham (1987), for example, investigated the perception of economic justice among adolescents in Great Britain and in South Africa by reading out 16 descriptions of hypothetical workers and asking respondents to allocate monetary rewards. While both groups rewarded effort, ability and productivity, the South African subjects, who were white English speakers, remunerated the white workers more than the black workers, a result that reflects the reality of the economic world in which they lived. In a similar vein, Emler and Dickinson (1985) studied children's understanding of economic inequalities in a group of 7-to-12 year old Scottish children drawn from working class and middle class backgrounds. The children were asked to estimate the incomes of people in different occupations and to make judgements about the fairness of income differences. Emler and Dickinson found no age differences but substantial class differences. Middle class children made overall higher estimates of income for all the occupations considered and perceived a clearer division between the manual and non-manual occupations. Moreover the middle class children appeared to be more certain about the justice of such economic inequalities. The researchers maintain that these results reflect the dominant social representations within each social class which the child assimilates. In another study, directly relevant to the present one, Roland-Lévy (1990) compared the economic socialisation of Algerian and French children and found that the dominant explanation for both poverty and wealth in Algerian children was the personal characteristics of the individual, whilst for their French counterparts it was the socio-economic system which was seen as mostly responsible for poverty. Whereas the French mentioned fate as responsible more for being rich than for being poor, the Algerians mentioned it more for being poor than for being rich. Interestingly, even though the Algerian children placed responsibility for being poor on the individual’s lack of effort and abilities as well as fate, they were also more aware than the French children of the power of the government in the country especially as far as unemployment was concerned. This categorisation of explanations for poverty into personal (individualistic), structural (economic) and fatalistic (bad luck and fate), which is derived from the work of Feagin (1975) has received considerable support in the literature (e.g., Feather, 1974 and Furnham, 1982a). In general middle class adults and adolescents tend to favour individualistic explanations (Furnham, 1982a,b) whereas lower income groups and the less well educated favour structural explanations, though the cross-national differences found are not always easy to interpret (e.g., the finding reported in Lewis, Webley and Furnham (1995), that the Italians tend to blame societal factors, the Danes fate and the British the poor themselves). What is clear is that there are cultural differences in explanations for poverty: a relevant example being that, when adolescents explain poverty in the West Indies Barbadians place more stress on inequalities and injustices than Dominicans, though the latter are much poorer (Payne & Furnham, 1985). Despite this support for a dialectical approach, cross-cultural studies in economic socialisation have found evidence of remarkable consistency of the pattern of development across countries. For example, in the Naive Economics Project, 900 children aged 8, 11 and 14 from Algeria, Australia, Denmark, Finland, West Germany, France, Israel, Norway, Poland and Yugoslavia were interviewed to establish their understanding and reasoning about various economic concepts, including their attitudes to poverty and wealth (Leiser, Sevón & Lévy, 1990). Averaging across countries, wealth differences were attributed by the children mainly to personal factors at all ages. The socio-economic system was the second most mentioned explanatory factor, but the importance of this surprisingly diminished with age. It must however be noted that children from the ten participating countries did give a variety of responses which may well have been due to their differing political and economic circumstances. The purpose of the present study was to build on this previous research by investigating children's understanding of economic inequalities in a society where there are enormous and entrenched differences in wealth based on racial grounds and where, in the past, social mobility for the poorer groups has been extremely limited. We hypothesised that younger (and rural) children would show more fatalism whereas older (and semi-urban and urban) children, through being radicalised, would be more likely to attribute inequality and its concomitants to the socio-economic system. We also hypothesised, based on the extensive research using the cognitive developmental approach, that older children would provide more complex explanations for inequality, poverty etc. than younger children. Three different locations: rural, urban and semi-urban, which will be described more fully later, were chosen because they provided very different social environments in which the children were gathering their “economic knowledge” about the world: rural areas are generally extremely poor with high levels of unemployment, and such employment as there is involves migrant work; urban areas are also poor but with a greater range in the types of jobs available, while the semi-urban area chosen in this study was the more affluent. Thus, the interest of the present study lies in exploring the extent to which children's understanding of poverty, wealth, inequality and unemployment is influenced by their specific local social environment and by their age