“Family Is Everyone Who Comes Through the Doors of Our Home”: West African Concepts of Family Bridging the North-South Divide in the Diaspora

  • Magnus Mfoafo-M’CarthyEmail author
  • Bree Akesson
Part of the Palgrave Studies on Children and Development book series (PSCD)


Some cultures, such as those belonging to the Global North, may place emphasis on individual well-being within the family system, while other cultures, such as those in the Global South, tend to view the family as the sum of its parts. When these two perspectives meet, as happens when a family immigrates to another context, there can be differing perceptions with regard to the role of the family, the ability of parents to effectively parent according to cultural norms, and perceptions about the child welfare system. This chapter presents data from West African families who have immigrated to Canada within the past ten years. Participants indicated that they felt as if they were oscillating between these two cultures by modifying their parenting practices and their understandings of family within these contexts. At the same time, by belonging to both cultures, the families engaged in and thereby bridged both worldviews.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social WorkWilfrid Laurier UniversityWaterlooCanada
  2. 2.Faculty of Social WorkWilfrid Laurier UniversityWaterlooCanada

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