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Yakuba’s new life – on the changes of child fosterage among the rural Fée (Mokollé) in northern Benin

Jeannett Martin

Africa Spectrum, 2007, vol. 42, issue 2, 219-249

Abstract: In the settlement region of the Fée in the north east of the Bénin Republic, the fostering of children, i.e. allowing them to be brought up not by their biological parents but by relatives such as their grandmother or aunts and uncles, is a very widespread social practice. Affected by the region’s social and economic changes this ‘traditional’ fostering practice is currently undergoing changes. This is most evident in the decrease in the numbers of ‘traditional’ fostering, but also in the appearance and spread of new forms of fostering accompanied by the multiplication of norm-concepts for ’giving children away’ and their support; which increasingly gives rise to conflicts. The article examines the aspects of change in this social institution in the rural environment from the end of the 19th century up to now and clarifies some causes of the changes it describes.

Date: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:gig:afjour:v:42:y:2007:i:2:p:219-249