Girls, gifts, and gender : an ethnography of the materiality of care in rural Mpumalanga, South Africa
Weckesser, Annalise Marie (2011) Girls, gifts, and gender : an ethnography of the materiality of care in rural Mpumalanga, South Africa. PhD thesis, University of Warwick.
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Official URL: http://webcat.warwick.ac.uk/record=b2565755~S1
This thesis is based on ethnographic fieldwork carried out in Agincourt, South Africa,
between 2009 and 2010. It examines social relations of care involving young people in
the context of the country's AIDS epidemic and increasing economic inequality. The
thesis focuses on three sets of care relations, which constitute gift exchanges involving
young (orphaned and non-orphaned) people: 1) children's labour for guardian care; 2)
girls' labour and sex for support from boys and men; and 3) the local manufacturing of
'orphans' for charitable gifts from tourist-philanthropists. The thesis further examines
how the contested constructions of orphanhood, childhood and care are expressed
through these three sets of relations. It theorises how Western and local constructions of
care, childhood and orphanhood meet on the ground through orphan-targeted
Evidence derives from ethnographic fieldwork carried out with two non-profit
organisations serving 'Orphans and Vulnerable Children' (OVCs) in two separate
villages, as well as with 14 households connected to the OVC organisations. Ongoing,
semi-structured interviews were carried out with young people and significant adult
caregivers from participant households. Participatory exercises, including a
photography project and a 'Girls Club,' were also carried out with young participants.
Interviews with key stakeholders involved in the OVC care scene were conducted.
Stakeholders included local government workers and officials, faith-based leaders and
staff from private tourist game lodges conducting community development projects
involving young people in Agincourt.
This thesis develops the concept of the 'materiality of care' to address the dearth of
ethnographically informed theorisations of care involving young peopled affected by
AIDS and poverty. It argues that understandings of care for and by young (orphaned)
people must be placed within local, emic perspectives and practices of care, as well as
within the broader, historical and political economic context shaping relations of care.
Findings have implications for policies and interventions for young people people
affected by AIDS and poverty. The thesis contributes to the growing body of evidence
that is critical of orphan-targeted interventions in sub-Saharan Africa; interventions
which fail to recognise the familial context of parentless children and the broader
context of poverty and hardships caused by AIDS that cut across the lives of orphaned
and non-orphaned young people.
|Item Type:||Thesis or Dissertation (PhD)|
|Subjects:||H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman|
|Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH):||Agincourt (South Africa) -- Social conditions, Children -- South Africa -- Agincourt, Orphans -- South Africa -- Agincourt, Child care -- South Africa -- Agincourt|
|Official Date:||November 2011|
|Institution:||University of Warwick|
|Theses Department:||School of Health and Social Studies|
|Supervisor(s)/Advisor:||Lewando Hundt, Gillian ; Stuttaford, Maria|
|Sponsors:||Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research ; University of Warwick ; Overseas Research Students Awards Scheme (ORSAS)|
|Extent:||289 p. : ill.|
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