Children of Tribal Unwed Mothers and Their Non-Legitimate Origin: A Social Exclusion Perspective

Shanuga Cherayi, Justin P. Jose, Sreejith Sudhakar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Using phenomenological design, we purposively selected 10 children of tribal unwed mothers for in-depth interview to explore children’s social identity in the context of non-legitimate origin, aspects of psychosocial disability, and exclusion. We analyzed data through open coding, progressive focusing, coding frame, summarizing, and interpreting the findings. The results reveal that tribal communities actively, though indirectly, engage in social system maintenance. The children of unwed mothers explicitly deviate and breach traditional tribal boundaries, thus victimized by socially ascribing disabling social identity of non-legitimate origin, in addition to their poorly valued social identity as tribals. As a result, non-legitimate children experience conflicts in social relationships, poor social integration, reduced support, poor peer acceptance, and exclusion that characterized everyday communal and school life. To conclude, these children internalized negative social (also non-legitimate) identities, psychosocial disabilities, and exclusion at neighborhood and schools.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSAGE Open
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 01-04-2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)


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