Dissertation Abstracts

Adolescent and Youth Socialization in Rural Kenya - Masaba Region, Kisii County

Author: AKUMA, JOSEPH MISATI, josephmisati@yahoo.com
Supervisor: Christian Thibon
Year of completion: 2015
Language of dissertation: English

Keywords: social change,Kenya , sociology of family , youth development , emerging adulthood
Areas of Research: Family Research , Youth


The subject of socializing young people is a matter of concern in all societies the world over. In developing countries, characterized by rapid social change, the adaptation and unconventional life patterns of future generations, whose growth trajectories will occur in an entirely different context calls for careful explication. In Kenya, the societal shifts and behavioral patterns exarcebated by the unique developmental vulnerabilities create a confluence of factors which place today’s adolescents and young people at a heightened risk of poor developmental outcomes. Hence, the need to transform the society’s mainstream social institutions as socializing contexts, to make them relevant for preparing adolescents for their future roles in society cannot be gainsaid. Set in rural Kisii, Masaba South - Western Kenya, the study sought to establish the effects of family change and other social institutions such as Educational, Religious and Mass Media on the socialization of the society’s young people. Urie Brofenbrenner (1994) Ecological Model for Human Development and the Life Course Approach were adopted as the Study’s Conceptual Model. The findings of the study showed that Socio- Cultural values and Community norms which influence the socialization process are not constant, but changing and sometimes contradictory and are perceived differently by the young people and the old members of the society, thus impacting negatively on the capacity of the parents and elders to regulate the youth. However, while the adoption of new social structures does not lead to failure in effective socialization, it may lead to disruption of transmission of specific behavior though greater need lies in providing for larger pathways through life and imparting positive behavior. At the national level, the policy environment is fraught with a huge divide in the state – family interface and the programmes have persistently been guided by the philosophy of deficit and problem oriented approaches. As such the ideology underlying youth development has often focused on projects centred on imparting vocational skills and access to financial services to the young people that have already “fallen off the cracks”. More critical, the country lacks an explicit family policy, from whose lenses policies that affect the family , such as the youth policy could be examined. This study makes an important contribution to the understanding of the emergent area of research aimed at understanding the structural obstacles to young people’s transition to adulthood by creating new channels and orientation for seeking pathways to personal development based on new ways and attitudes of human interaction.