Developmental Idealism and Family Life in Malawi
Arland Thornton, University of Michigan
Linda Young-DeMarco, University of Michigan
We examine the extent to which developmental idealism has been disseminated in the Sub-Saharan African country of Malawi. Developmental idealism is a set of beliefs and values stating that modern societies and families are better than traditional ones, that modern families facilitate modern societies, and that there will be more modern families in the future. Previous research has demonstrated that developmental idealism is widespread internationally, but provides little systematic data about its occurrence in Sub-Saharan Africa. Our paper helps to fill this gap by examining the extent to which developmental idealism has become widespread in Malawi. Our survey data collected in 2009 and 2010 show that developmental idealism is widespread in Malawi. Many people relate development and family attributes, say that development brings family change, and say that family change fosters development. Many also report that modern families will become more common in the future in Malawi.
Presented in Session 216: Attitudes and Demography