African Families Faced with NICT: Stakes and Effect on Inter-Individual and Intergenerational Relation

African Families Faced with NICT: Stakes and Effect on Inter-Individual and Intergenerational Relation

Honoré Mimche (IFORD-University of Yaounde II, Cameroon) and Norbert Tohnain Lengha (CNE-Ministry of Scientific Research and Innovation, Yaounde, Cameroon)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-822-2.ch014
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In Africa, family structures are today committed or involved in the dynamics of social transformation which jeopardize their mode of constitution their future, the sustenance of intergenerational and individual relationships as well as the traditional systems of social relationships based on direct and personal communication. This chapter is a sociological analysis of the future of the family through its relationship with NICT notably the Internet and the cellular telephone. The analyses lay emphasizes on the consequences of NICTs on the modalities for the constitution of marriage covenants, family relationships and intergenerational transfers.
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As a communication technique and a means of bringing social actors together, NICTs are progressively becoming preferred social actors for social communication hence, reducing the « face to face » social communication which for many years regulated the functioning of African families. The effects of these new trends in communication encourage intensified migratory movements, which in the long run result in multinational families and the breakdown of African traditional solidarity, which relied on effective co-presence of family actors. The main consequence is the destabilization of the latter. In the same way, the irruption of NICTs in social life is becoming a major way to have a partner through electronic courtship. Further more, NICTs have an effect on the daily lives of individuals, and hence, constituting a major stake for the future of African families especially as they lead to a recomposition of intergenerational relationships through new communication mechanisms which sustain them.

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