Schooling and Social Change among the Bagisu of Uganda

Burgers, Floris (2023) Schooling and Social Change among the Bagisu of Uganda. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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In Uganda over the past 25 years, a series of mass education programmes led to an enormous improvement in access to schooling. This instigated a rapid increase in school attendance at both the primary and secondary level. While only a limited number of privileged children (mostly boys) went to school before the turn of the century, today nearly all children (both boys and girls) spend at least some time in school. This ethnographic thesis, set at a time after these educational developments, explores the socio-cultural consequences of schooling in Bunyafa, a rural area in eastern Uganda, home to the Gisu ethnic group. It is concerned with how schooling has changed social relationships and cultural practices and ideals in the domain of personhood (Part 1), family life (Part 2) and community life (Part 3). The thesis’ main argument is that long-standing socio-cultural practices, principles and ideals shape the way aspects of schooling, such as the responsibility to pay school fees or schooled personhood, are interpreted and made sense of. The way in which people make sense of schooling, in turn, has a bearing on the socio-cultural consequences of schooling in a particular locality. The thesis demonstrates how this dynamic underlies various socio-cultural developments in the Gisu context, such as the emergence of a new marriage transaction, changes in access to land and, most significantly, changes in gender relations. Data were collected during 16 months of ethnographic fieldwork (spread over two periods) in which the more traditional ethnographic methods of participant observation (both offline and online), interviews and focus groups were combined with a large-scale household survey.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Global Development (formerly School of International Development)
Depositing User: Chris White
Date Deposited: 19 Oct 2023 10:09
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2023 10:09


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