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Parenthood and the Wayana People

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Alì, Maurizio; Ailincai, Rodica

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Abstract This paper presents the first results obtained from an exploratory study which is conducted within the Amerindian Wayana communities who inhabit the Amazon sector of the High Maroni area, in French Guiana. Based on an ecological and interactionist approach and employing comprehensive methods to analyze observed facts (to bypass the nostalgic attitude fostering the paradigmatic anthropological dichotomy “tradition vs; modernity”), this study describes educational family practices among Wayana and analyses parents’ expectations visà-vis their children in the framework of the postcolonial dynamic, with the aim to understand the influence of the national public policies to diffuse certain domestic praxis. The ethnographic corpus is gathered during a long fieldwork and it is accompanied by seventeen semi-open interviews. The interpretative approach attempts to link the observed behaviours observed to contextual and cultural variables. Following the analysis of the data, the authors propose 1) a diagram of the structure of Wayana family kinship Microsystems (with a description and a diagram of the Wayana matrilineality scheme); 2) a description of roles and educational functions within their communities and, finally, 3) an overview of parental expectations interpreted taking into account the influences of contemporary inter-systemic interactions (and above all the dynamics generated by the recent introduction of compulsory schooling into the area).
Keywords parenthood; Guinea; ethnic group; minority; exploration; interaction research; interaction pattern; social behavior; behavior; expectation; parent-child relationship; field research; ethnography; role; role distribution; indigenous peoples; childhood; anthropology
Classification Ethnology, Cultural Anthropology, Ethnosociology; Social Psychology; Family Sociology, Sociology of Sexual Behavior
Free Keywords Social Success; Wayana; Apalaï; Comparative education; Anthropology of education; Anthropology of childhood
Document language English
Publication Year 2016
Page/Pages p. 149-161
Journal Sociology Mind, 6 (2016) 3
ISSN 2160-0848
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution