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date: 02 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Children’s rights and culture have long been positioned as logically opposed to each other. Human rights, with their focus on the individual, were said to infringe on collective identity in diverse contexts. In turn, cultures (especially those in non-Western societies), and their attendant practices, were seen to impede the realization of human rights. However, the reality of children’s lives demonstrates the complexities that frame the contexts within which children are raised and highlights the implications for perceptions of children’s rights and culture. These complexities can be attributed to numerous factors, including the historical context of a society and its implications for that society’s relationship to both the concepts of culture and rights. Therefore, focusing on sub-Saharan Africa, this chapter explores the role of one historical event—colonial rule and missionary engagement—in shaping a society’s relationship to both the cultures that underpin its communities and the dominant notion of children’s rights.

Keywords: children’s rights, culture, individuality, collective identity, colonial rule, missionary engagement, coexistence of rights and culture, sub-Saharan Africa, Ghana

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