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Accepted Paper:

Changes in reciprocity practices between generations: the case of urban Burkina Faso  
Claudia Roth (University of Berne)

Paper long abstract:

In contemporary urban Burkina Faso, there are no alternatives to old age security assured by the proper children. However our research on intergenerational relations in poor families at Bobo-Dioulasso shows that the cycle of debt and thus reciprocity between generations is interrupted or the debt is not fully compensated. In half of the cases, old parents care for their adult unmarried children without income (inverted intergenerational contract). This new practice produces social tensions which the elderly men and women like to veil in order to maintain their customary role as family elderly and the power connected with it. The young people on their part seem to pursue a new path: indeed they suffer of not being able to care for their old aged parents the way they should. But their main efforts aim to get full social status as a respected member of society. These changes in the reciprocity practices endanger the elderly who continue to pauperize. Up to now it is an open question whether at least the young people can benefit.

Panel W028
Family dynamics and practical kinship in Africa
  Session 1