Value Orientation of Minor Law-Breakers in the Republic of Mali

By Kansaye, Bourema | African Journal of Criminology and Justice Studies : AJCJS, November 2005 | Go to article overview

Value Orientation of Minor Law-Breakers in the Republic of Mali


Kansaye, Bourema, African Journal of Criminology and Justice Studies : AJCJS


The system of values determines the meaningful side of the directivity of personality and composes the basis of its relations to the surrounding peace, to other people and to itself. It plays a great role in the formation of worldview, the nucleus, which motivates the vital activity, the basis of vital concept and the "philosophy of life".

For determining the value orientation of minor law-breakers, we have used the modified version of M. Rokeach's procedure based on the straight ranking of the list of values.

A list of 16 social-significant values was presented to minors. It was proposed to them to select the values, beginning with the most significant for them and ending with the least. Those social significant values are very useful to both the European an African (Malian) society. The list contains values such as health, studies, work, family, solidarity, respect for elders etc. We do not consider money and personal wealth as purely Eurocentric value. But we do not contest that the strengthening significance of personal wealth in Malian society, especially in the urban areas, has a link with increasing individualism.

This research was conducted with 75 minors convicted for simple theft, swindle, infanticide, etc. 75 law-abiding minors between the age of 15 and 17 formed the control group. The term law-breakers we used here consist to group all the subjects, which conflicted with the law.

The results reveal that in the group of law-abiding adolescents, health holds a lead with 97% rating. That is, law abiding adolescents consider health, which also includes the healthy means of life, as the basis of all values. Their view conflicts with the view of law-breakers group, where health occupied only seventh place (58%). It is necessary to emphasize those socially significant values for this age such as studies, family, work and leisure obtained higher expression in law-abiding group. In this group of adolescents, studies, family, leisure and work occupied the second (93%), third (80%), fourth (78%) and sixth (58%) positions respectively.

Law-breaker minors gave preference to the values of self-realization. In the group of law-breakers (boys), value - money solidly occupies the first place - 60 %, while in the law-abiding group money occupied only fifth place (61%). Among the values, which occupied the first place, we observed various differences. For example, studies interest only 12 %, and the work only 4 % of law-breakers male minors. Obtaining practical education as a value, interests them. This value occupied the fourth and fifth places in 60 %, although 20 % of law-breakers placed it in the second place. The hierarchy of selection helps in understanding the main motives behind the commitment of offenses by minors, which in the overwhelming majority consist in the self-interest. Specifically, self-interest constitutes the motive of the majority of the crimes committed by minors.

Similar results are obtained by group of girl law-breakers, with exception of some special features. They consist in essence into higher place occupied by value - money - 72 %. Work occupies the second place on the significance. No one of them selected leisure as the component value in the first place, although 80 % of girls placed it in the fourth and fifth places. The girls realized more than the boys that for obtaining the money, it is necessary to work. They emphasized the need for work, and they saw it as the method of self-realization, whereas it is not observed as such in the minor of masculine sex.

In both groups of law-breakers, moral-humanitarian values, in spite of their large number in the proposed list, did not enter into the first five selected values. They are in the sixth and subsequent places. Minors consider that these values are not determining in their life. As asserted by V. V. Gavrilyuk and V. A. Trikoz, "general human values for many young people are only potential; they have a nature of sufficient abstract ideas of them".

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