A Binary Model of Broken Home: Parental Death-Divorce Hypothesis of Male Juvenile Delinquency in Nigeria and Ghana

Suleman Ibrahim

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Purpose: In terms of the concept of broken home as a juvenile delinquency risk factor, whilst Nigeria and Ghana are culturally different from western nations (Gyekye, 1996; Hofstede, 1980; Smith, 2004), parental death (PDE) and parental divorce (PDI) have been previously taken-for-granted as one factor, that is ‘broken home’. This paper aims to deconstruct the singular model of ‘broken home’ and propose a binary model – the parental death and parental divorce hypotheses, with unique variables inherent in Nigerian/Ghanaian context.

Methodology/approach: It principally deploys the application of Goffman’s (1967) theory of stigma, anthropological insights on burial rites and other social facts (Gyekye, 1996; Mazzucato et al., 2006; Smith, 2004) to tease out diversity and complexity of lives across cultures, which specifically represent a binary model of broken home in Nigeria/Ghana. It slightly appraises post-colonial insights on decolonization (Agozino, 2003; Said, 1994) to interrogate both marginalized and mainstream literature.

Findings: Thus far, analyses have challenged the homogenization of the concept broken home in existing literature. Qualitatively unlike in the ‘West’, analyses have identified the varying meanings/consequences of parental divorce and parental death in Nigeria/Ghana.

Originality/value: Unlike existing data, this paper has contrasted the differential impacts of parental death and parental divorce with more refined variables (e.g. the sociocultural penalties of divorce such as stigma in terms of parental divorce and other social facts such as burial ceremonies, kinship nurturing, in relation to parental death), which helped to fill in the missing gap in comparative criminology literature.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationContemporary Perspectives in Family Research
EditorsSampson Lee Blair, Sheila Royo Maxwell
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherEmerald Publishing
Number of pages30
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-78560-262-7
ISBN (Print)978-1-78560-263-4
Publication statusPublished - 3 Sept 2015
EventInternational Sociological Association (Research Committee on Family Research RC06) - University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Duration: 13 Aug 201516 Aug 2015


ConferenceInternational Sociological Association (Research Committee on Family Research RC06)

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