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Petaws and Perés: A study concerning youth and jewelry in West Africa
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, School of Cultural Sciences.
2012 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (university diploma), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis [Artistic work]
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this study is to find out the spiritual meanings behind traditional West African jewelry, more specifically from The Gambia and Casamance in south of Senegal, and how children and youth learn about jewelry production. I want to find out if teaching about jewelry production lies in school’s responsibility—as it does in Sweden where we have our hand-craft education—or if it is learned in another way. I also want to know whether the youth of West Africa value their jewelry traditions, and if it is something they want to pass on to future generations.

          This study has a pedagogical perspective with an emphasis on “practical” and “silent” knowledge. Furthermore, this study discusses forms of communication other than verbal, such as visual languages. I have chosen to make a few qualitative interviews with a young woman, a jewelry smith, and a teacher, and to hand out a small questionnaire in a school class. I have chosen these methods of research to discover more about West African traditional jewelry and its meanings. I also seek to know about young people’s views on their ornament traditions.

          The result of my study is that traditional West African jewelry often has spiritual meanings and aims to provide divine protection from sickness and other ailments. The jewelry traditions in West Africa are still very popular, even among teenagers.

Western African youth is very proud of this tradition and plans to pass it on to future generations, including their own children. I also found out that there is a severe lack of resources in schools, and the handicraft profession, therefore, must be learned from older family members and relatives rather than from school.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. , 40 p.
Keyword [en]
West Africa, jewelry
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-22147OAI: diva2:561705
Subject / course
Educational program
Lärarprogrammet, inriktning mot verksamhet i grundskolans senare år och gymnasiet
Fine Art
Available from: 2012-11-12 Created: 2012-10-20 Last updated: 2012-11-12Bibliographically approved

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