Sunday, January 8, 2012


Anomie is a really weird Wikipedia article, but even weirder is an article it used to link to on the Ik People, which claims this bizarre practice:
Children by age three are at least sometimes permanently expelled from the household and form groups called age-bands consisting of those within the same age group. The 'Junior Group' consists of children from the ages of three to eight and the 'Senior Group' consists of those between eight and thirteen. No adults look after the children, who teach each other the basics of survival.
Wikipedia casts some doubts on this practice, but I'll be blunter: I don't believe this at all.

Has any culture ever done such a thing?

I'll give you this much: Any given Friday night at my house pretty much resembles this quote--it's basically lord of flies amongst the kids running about.

But we do feed them...

(Photo source)


  1. I totally understand that lord of the flies thing. Kidz iz crazee I tellz ya.

    But why so bluntly atheist on this issue, Gid? The Wiki article doesn't seem to doubt it happened, but whether or not it's merely a response to extreme deprivation and famine. They cite two authors who seek to explain it (albeit one of them apparently quite flawed). I dunno.

    Given the prevalence of child soldiers in war-torn regions of Africa, it would appear that being a child there is a lot rougher experience than say, Aucamville or Minneapolis! Much like Europe not so many years ago.....

    Parents sell their kids into slavery or prostitution all over the world, why not expel them from the village to survive on their own in packs? Hell, you find something analgous in America today, no?

  2. Well, picture me red faced, cap in hands, looking down and kicking at the dirt with my toes ... I confess to a bit of a mistake here.

    The two Wikipedia articles (Ik and Anomie) were so fascinating that I all excitedly plunged out the first thing I found in my head ... which was neither terribly interesting nor correct.

    I did misread the quote I provided, thinking that it suggested that it was the norm of this culture to shove out kids at the age of 3 or a bit older. I don't think that's been the norm of any society, though horrible such things clearly happen all too often on the planet. There is an estimated 100 children moved through Minneapolis in the international sex slave trade every year. Horrifying stuff. Which was my intended, though misguided, point: This is not normal, I believe, for any society. I believe, for example, that most of the children soldiers in Africa are either kidnapped or orphaned.

    But, as you can see, I'm creating a straw man. The article doesn't actually say that it's normal in Ik society to kick your children out of the house, to refuse to feed, clothe, or shelter them. In fact, the article specifically says "sometime permanently expelled", and, as you noted, D, the article noted that this seems to be a reaction to horrific conditions--not some normality.

    On the other hand, I never did (and never would) say that it isn't a rougher experience to be an Ik child than a child in Minneapolis or in Aucamville, although childhood experiences in Minneapolis do vary considerably.

    In short, my post was off: I set up a straw man, tried to bait comments, and, well--light of morning and curse that "last night guy" and whatnot--I regret it.

    Anyhow, those two Wikipedia are really fascinating. Hopefully I can find something interesting to say about them and re-post on this topic soon...

  3. I believe, for example, that most of the children soldiers in Africa are either kidnapped or orphaned.

    I agree. My point wasn't that parents in Africa are uncaring, but that a child's lot there in some places is utter shit, and people don't have the same regard for childhood as we might, at least regarding the children of their victims. Which is something I should have included in my comment, but I wasn't sure how to word it. Even this comment is uncomfortable, because saying "Africa" is such a broad generalization of a vast and diverse continent as to be almost meaningless!

    Also, didn't mean to imply you were ignoring the fact that being an Ik was more difficult than being a kid in our respective ville and polis. Just a clumsy attempt at humor around a subject which isn't very funny at all....

  4. Gid, this is relevant:

  5. Replies
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    2. What an awful tale. Take your Playstation and go to the neighbor's. Be sure to pick your crushed heart up from off the floor before you go out. I wonder if the mother is dead or what? Bad enough if a father runs off knowing the mother will bear the burden, but to leave a boy utterly alone? Ugh.


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