Ngecha: A Kenyan Village in a Time of Rapid Social Change

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Carolyn P. Edwards, Beatrice Blyth Whiting
U of Nebraska Press, 2004 - Social Science - 280 pages
Ngecha is the monumental and intimate study of modernization and nationalization in rural Africa in the early years following Kenyan independence in 1963, as experienced by the people of Ngecha, a village outside Nairobi. From 1968 to 1973 Ngecha was a research site of the Child Development Research Unit, a team that brought together Kenyan and non-Kenyan social scientists under the leadership of John Whiting and Beatrice Blyth Whiting.

The study documents how families adapted to changing opportunities and conditions as their former colony became a modern nation, and the key role that women played as agents of change as they became small-scale cash-crop farmers and entrepreneurs. Mothers modified the culture of their parents to meet the evolving national economy, and they participated in the shift from an agrarian to a wage economy in ways that transformed their workloads and perceptions of isolation and individualism within and between households, thereby challenging traditional family-based morals and obligations. Their children, in turn, experienced evolving educational practices and achievement expectations. The elders faced new situations as well as new modes of treatment. Completing this valuable record of a nation in transition are the long-term reassessments of the observations and conclusions of the research team, and a description of Ngecha today as viewed by Kenyans who participated in the original study.

 

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Contents

New Dawn
1
FIGURES
5
The Village and Its Families
21
1 Section of land belonging
26
PHOTOGRAPHS
34
Woman preparing mashed vegetables
40
The Historical Stage
53
Let Women Be Supported
91
Changing Concepts of the Good Child
119
The Teaching of Values Old and New
153
Aging and Elderhood
179
The University as Gateway to
215
g NgechaToday
245
Violet Nyambura Kimani
253
Hope on the Horizon
265
Index
271

Chapter 4
93

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About the author (2004)

Carolyn Pope Edwards is Willa Cather Professor and a professor of psychology and of family and consumer sciences at the University of Nebraska?Lincoln. Beatrice Blyth Whiting (1914?2003) was a professor of anthropology and education at Harvard University. Whiting and Edwards are co-authors of Children of Different Worlds: The Formation of Social Behavior.

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