Session 1: New theoretical directions for childhood studies
Inequalities in French Speaking and Anglo-saxon Childhood Sociology
Regine Sirota, Université Paris Descartes, CERLIS, France
According to academic traditions or sociopolitical context, the issue of inequalities in childhood has been addressed in different ways. The French speaking sociological discussion has been quite specific compared to Anglo-Saxon. Those differences will be presented and discussed. Paradoxically, it is in putting aside the question of democratization and inequalities of opportunities that the child emerged as an actor in French speaking sociology, on a first step. As in the French context, the “Republican Universalism” has been the main reference, childhood inequalities have been mainly studied in terms of social stratification. On the other side, in the Anglo-Saxon context, diversity has been the main reference, priority being given to problematics as gender or ethnicity. We intend to examine how do those differences influence the way childhood inequalities are studied and how these categorizations are transformed and their intersectionality addressed. How categorizations affect childhood and how childhood affects categories? How taking childhood into account affects social class as a social categorization? Do we observe persistence of social inequalities or mutation of childhood diversity? And last but not least: what does the’ child actor’ make of social differences and differentiations? Asking the question of inequalities from the perspective of childhood is like holding a mirror that reflects not only the evolutions of society or of the societies used as a point of reference, but also on the relevance or irreverence of our sociological categories, shining a light on their rigidities as well as their mutations or ambiguities.
Adultization of Children in view of Late Modernity
Turkan Firinci Orman, Baskent University, Turkey
This study presents a review on childhood as it is lived in the late modern era. It is asserted that although the modern Western concept of childhood is rapidly disappearing in our age of late modernity, childhood, as lived, has not disappeared but rather has been transformed by an adultization process.
The study firstly debates that children are growing up in a risk society and are facing a continuous change as a result of individualization and globalization processes. The disappearance of the modern nuclear family, global risks, social problems, inequalities and poverty that affect the world children, and the concept of ‘children in crisis’ are some of the themes debated within this context. Thus, showing the evidence from the existing literature the study mainly focuses on the forms of adultization such as child consumerism and children citizenship. It is debated that contemporary consumer habits and media access have some common results in altering the childhood experience. Similarly, the UNCRC adds a new role to children and supports the idea that they present themselves as individuals with rights.
The novelty of the work underlines that beyond the opposing views in the literature involving the disappearance of childhood or its liberation, it is possible to problematize and analyze childhood in its current state. It is also suggested that as children compose one-third of the world population, they should be explicitly considered as citizens with civil, political, social, and economic rights. They will otherwise remain isolated from their potentiality and integrity while being exposed to the extreme harms of globalization. With an emphasis on children’s rights and their generational position in society, it is concluded that childhood is shorter and approaches the adult world.
Children in Street Situations are lost… in translation!
Daniel Stoecklin, Centre for Children’s Rights Studies, University of Geneva, Switzerland
The «General Comment (Nr 21) on Children in Street Situations» (hereafter GC on CSS) was issued in English in June 2017 by the Committee on the Rights of the Child (UN CRC, 2017). There was an incident with the translation of this document in the other UN languages (French, Spanish, Chinese and Arabic): the expression «Children in street situations » has been translated by the equivalent of « street children » («enfants des rues» in French, and « niños de la calle » in Spanish). This incident confirms that the sociological perspective that informed the expression «children in street situations» has been lost in translation (Stoecklin 2017), not only in the title of the GC on CSS but also in its content. In this paper, it will be further asked whether and to which extent child’s rights governance is informed by childhood studies. The GC on CSS is an interpretation of the problems faced by these children and of the measures most appropriate to solve them. The drafting process of this General Comment informs about the evolution of this interpretation. It provides an example of a «horizontal » process whereby several types of actors have had their perspectives taken into account : international agencies, civil society organizations, academics, but also children. However, in the end, «cultural processes » boil these voices down to an interpretation framed by an institutional order that can be depicted through the funnelling model of critical discourse analysis (Holzscheiter 2010). The paradox of institutionalisation (Stammers, 2013), whereby emancipatory struggles have to compromise, affects the treatment of critical academic contributions even when their perspectives have been foundational for the official wording. I suggest that this invisibilization is an outcome of a «regime of truth » (Foucault 1976) only marginally linked to « scientific discourse ». An entrepreneurial mode of action legitimizes the instrumental habitus (Bourdieu 1990) that is more generally prevalent in the structuration (Giddens, 1984) of childhood and child rights governance. The image of the child with evolving capacities is an outcome of this conventionalized discourse. Consequently, what has been put in translation is a representation of children deprived of access to entitlements necessary for them to become responsible adults. Their social (re)integration is framed by the neo-liberal ideal of competent selves that is pervading the legal-rational domination (Weber 2013).
Session2: New theoretical directions for childhood studies
Children-Animals’ relationships: a misaddressed topic in Sociology of Childhood?
Veronica Policarpo & Ana Nunes de Almeida, Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lisbon, Portugal
Animals are ubiquitously present in children’s worlds: from soft toys, to representations in cartoons and films, or the importance of pets, animals are part of contemporary childhood experiences. Moreover, and opposite to (male) adults, both have shared in the past: a) a common condition associated with the irrational, natural sphere; b) a distinct but quite parallel progress to accede protection and provision rights.
The historical process that conveyed both children and non-human animals rights of their own was the product of changing values in changing societies, towards the respect, protection and empowerment of the most vulnerable. Left behind or in the shade for a long time in sociological thought, both are now recognized and perceived as actors and co-producers of social life. The close connection between children and animals has been widely explored by some social sciences (vg. Developmental Psychology, eg. Melson 2001; 2016) and the interdisciplinary field of Animal Studies (Cole & Stewart 2014). Ad-hoc sociological studies (eg. Tipper 2011) have documented how children actively negotiate rules and meanings both with (adult) humans, and animals, and thus human/non-human boundaries, as well as adulthood/childhood boundaries. These studies show that what children do in their daily lives, with the animals they live with, is relevant to better understand their worlds: who they are, the conditions they live in, and how they engage with the cultural processes through which animals are progressively turned into an object of consumption (vg. food, clothes or entertainment). This ‘practice approach’ (Schatzki et al. 2005) deconstructs developmental theories that focus mostly on the ‘functions’ and roles of animals in children’s lives, and therefore remain deeply anthropocentric (eg. learning emotional or other skills that can later be used in the relationship with humans).
In a nutshell, the importance of animals to the construction of the worlds of children has been quite absent from Sociology of Childhood theoretical debates. Interestingly, this opposes a major interest dedicated to non-human technological artefacts, such as new ICTs. Our communication: a) challenges this dominant approach; b) puts forward the hypothesis that it happens because this sociological domain has been, as sociological thought in general, dominated by an anthropocentric perspective, that has made it so difficult to bring the nonhuman to its debates (Carter & Charles 2016); c) strives to put the topic in the agenda of the Sociology of Childhood.
Carter, B. & Charles, N., 2016. The animal challenge to sociology. European Journal of Social Theory, 21(1), pp.1–19.
Cole, M. & Stewart, K., 2014. Our Children and Other Animals. The cultural construction of humananimal relations in childhood, Ashgate Publishing.
Melson, G.F., 2016. Children and Animals.
Melson, G.F., 2001. Why the Wild Things Are. Animals in the Lives of Children, Harvard University Press.
Schatzki, T.R., Cetina, K.K. & Savigny, E. von, 2005. The Practice Turn in Contemporary Theory, London and New York: Routledge.
Tipper, B., 2011. “A dog who I know quite well”: everyday relationships between children and animals. Children’s Geographies, 9(2), pp.145–165.
Conceptualizing culture, children and childhoods. Reflections on pitfalls and opportunities
Randi Dyblie Nilsen, Norwegian Center for Child Research, IPL, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Norway
In the Nordic context, concepts of child culture/children’s culture etc. framed much of the evolving interdisciplinary research and public engagement in the 1970/80s and onwards, which enhanced views of children as active and competent social subjects. Both in Nordic and international writings relating to Sociology of childhood, concepts like child/peer/childhood/ children’s culture, have been repeatedly discussed and criticized.
Culture is one of the very wide conceptual tools, which carry both pitfalls and possibilities. In my research, which is framed by Sociology of childhood, I have learned from diverse disciplines and research traditions like social anthropology, critical cultural studies, feminist theorizing and constructionist approaches. Apart from pointing out some critique and pitfalls in relation to (child) culture, I will in this paper argue for a wider cultural perspective, and sketch diverse analytical possibilities and insights that might be gained. These reflections will be grounded in my former research efforts of doing cultural analysis in an interdisciplinary mood, which account for e.g. generational relations, agency, resistance, power and control.
Framed by Sociology of childhood, I attend to the option of relating to multiple conceptualisations of culture, which might enhance our efforts of theorizing and gaining understandings of children and childhoods. I will explore the idea of that multiple cultural conceptualisations might be related to the diversity of theoretical approaches that Sociology of childhood promotes. (Confer my paper presented at the 2016 Mid-term conference in Ghent: Three branches of Sociology of childhood. Discussing a fruitful diversity in theorizing and researching children and childhood, and further theoretical informed analysis presented at ESA conferences since 2001).
Childhood agency and governance on contemporary Brazil: the experience of social movements
Maria Cristina Soares de Gouvea & Levindo Diniz Carvalho, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG), Brazil
This work will discuss how, in contemporary Brazil, the social action of children can examine the logics of governance, based on the analysis of two social movements. First, the National Movement of Street Child (created in 1982), which participated in the formulation and implementation of the Child and Adolescent Statute (1990, still in force), an action enhanced, albeit previously, by the establishment of the UN’s Declaration of the rights of the child. That movement, emblematic in the history of childhood in Brazil, inaugurated new strategies of child agency in segregated and unequal Brazilian cities. Second, the Youth Movement of the Landless (1990s to the present). This composed of children whose families are members of the MST (Movement of the Landless) who participate daily in the struggle for the right to land, experiencing their own educational logic. Both movements make it possible to reflect on the tensions in the implementation of the principle of participation (Article 5) of the Declaration of the Rights of the Child.
Based on the survey and analysis of extensive Brazilian and foreign academic production on such movements, we will evaluate the historical conditions that allowed their emergence, the strategies of participation and children’s governance, and relations with other social movements and with the State, in the formulation of public policies. We will address the construction of forms of child governance within power relationships with adults, considering participatory and decision-making processes traversed by social and generational hierarchies. Furthermore, we consider how the logics of the movements’ participation and protagonism examine the apprehension of children in situations of poverty in the southern hemisphere, as defined exclusively by vulnerability. The hypothesis discussed here is that the presence and participation of children in these social movements confronts the legal framework and challenge the implementation of policies, informed by a adult perspective. In these sense it’s possible to see a generational tension between children agency and adults politics.
We propose to uncover the singularity of the processes of children’s participation inserted in organized social movements, highlighting their collective character and political dimension. With this analysis we will reflect on the social action of the child and childhood governance, on the tension between the principles of participation and social protection.
Sessions 3: Arts and social research with children
Using or used by art: exploring theoretical tools for analysing children’s role in socially engaged arts
Cath Larkins, University of Central Lancashire, UK
Children’s relationship to the arts has implications for children’s lived experience in all aspects of their lives. How children depict themselves and are depicted in art creates resources for identity construction and influences their treatment by others. The extent to which children access arts has implications for their internal dialogue, and access is often limited by the social and economic contexts of children’s lives. The choice children have over the art they experience is also mediated by adults’ conceptions of risk and ownership. And all these factors have implications for children’s opportunities to build social and cultural capital. Yet, children are a valued resource in cultural production; children’s lives are studied and the interpretation of these experiences provides artists (and researchers) with valued material which they (we) represent in cultural goods.
This paper will explore the potential for children to use art as a resource in their citizenship. It describes the varying relationships children and young people have to a co-created multilingual dance production and action research proposal, focused on improving children’s residential care. Children were studied to create the piece. They have reviewed it and made suggestions for improvements. They have also designed an action research project that would use the performed piece as an emotional trigger to prompt willing audience members (including professionals and care leavers) to engage in reflection and action to improve alternative care provision. The paper suggests theoretical approaches to understanding children’s engagement with the production of these cultural artefacts and the potential for children to mobilise these artefacts to enable expressions of their activist citizenship, agency and identify. It invites dialogue on the appropriate theoretical tools for understanding the tensions and potential of children mobilising art to achieve their goals for social citizenship.
Artists in Social Scientific Research with Children and Young People
Tom Cockburn, Edge Hill University, UK
In recent years a number of researchers interested in the social field have utilised the arts and artists as a vehicle to provide a sense of empowerment through the act of creating and by being creative. Furthermore, social scientists have been increasingly influenced by `arts based research’ (Foster, 2016). Such academics have been interested in how artistic and creative activities can serve as a useful medium in breaking down the barriers between the researcher and the researched. Artistic activities such as the use of arts, photography and video cameras (visual methodologies) have been applied to serve as representations or illustrations of the lives of people in the communities being researched. This includes a growing trend within research with children (Theodotou, 2016). Current policy initiatives at a European level, the European Commission’s 63 billion Euro Cohesion Fund acknowledges the contribution that culture can make to social cohesion across Europe. We can see the use of arts by projects such as the Groundwork Trust, Arts & Business, First Light, etc. which testify to the growing faith in arts as a means of delivering social justice. Research and critical assessment of the assumption of a transformative nature for arts practice has, for the most part, been from the viewpoint of participants and done within the frameworks of policies that have specific social and educational agendas and outcomes.
The stimulus for this paper is a workshop organised in London and Manchester in the 2000s on `Art and Action Research’, attended by artists, academics and policy makers. In that workshop artists expressed deep concern about the instrumental nature of their work. They felt that they were increasingly compelled to undertake work that was `set up’ to fail as society’s elastoplasts. This was expressed in the context of debates around the instrumental uses of art and the discussions about the efficacy of the social impact of arts in the UK.
This research is a report of work achieved to date of a series of interviews with social scientists who have collaborated with artists, in some form or another, in England. Most of those interviewed wished their collaborative work to be socially engaging with children and young people. We were particularly interested in the interactions between social scientists and artists in their day-to-day interdisciplinary work. This paper reports on the difficulties, contradictions, tensions of inter-disciplinary work but also some of opportunities and synergies of collaboration in work with children.
Foster, V. (2016) Collaborative Arts-based Research for Social Justice, London Routledge.
Theodotou, E. (2015). Can we play again with Picasso Miss? The effects of the arts in children’s involvement during literacy activities in the Early Years Settings: A case study in the Greek context. International Academic Conference on Social Sciences. Elite World Hotel Istanbul 25-26 July. Istanbul: EBSCO
The Creation of Cultural Value in Children’s Media: Studying the production of TV Cartoons
Pascale Garnier & Sébastien François, Université Paris 13, France
The sociology of childhood usually pays attention to social and political problems involving children and their family, such as migration, poverty, war, etc. In contrast, the interest for the way media and cultural goods permeate children’s daily existence is more recent and less developed. Moreover, if some studies have explored how they are consumed, how they are marketed or the public regulation they have led to (Buckingham, 2011), little has been said about their creation. The design and production of cultural goods addressing children are however processes in which normative visions of childhood –regarding what children should be, do or be allowed to– are convoked, discussed, and finally stabilized in the final product.
Our aim is precisely to bring this new perspective into the sociology of childhood, by questioning the place and role of children within the design of cultural goods. It also means introducing children in the field of “production studies” dedicated to the understanding of cultural and creative industries. Our research documents the creation of a specific cartoon series, called The Long Long Holidays (Les Grandes grandes vacances), first broadcasted on a French national public channel in 2015, and winner of several prizes in France and abroad. Thanks to empirical data coming from interviews with the various and numerous actors involved in the production process (showrunner, animators, producer, director, broadcaster, agent of public agency and television, etc.), the creation of “artistic value” (Boltanski & Esquerre, 2017) in children’s TV is questioned. How does this cartoon has produced, from the very beginning, a positive and very unique image, in comparison to other animated products for TV, which seem relatively more common and standardized? How has it acquired an artisanal image, while remaining the result of an industrialized production? What kind of children’s participation does this kind of production involve? We emphasize here the role of the cartoon’s theme –World War II experienced by young children– as a key element to gather a “family” of French professionals to implement this project, to get the attention of private and public funding (especially in the French context), as well as international broadcasters. The exploitation of history considered from children’s perspective has also helped to go beyond the moral norms that traditionally constrain the making of children’s TV cartoons. Thus, the success of The Long Long Holidays has become possible both because it criticized in different ways the idea of a vulnerable childhood (in particular, by refusing the “moral panics” associated with the possibility of showing children in dangerous situations), and because it is grounded on a strong narrative rather than licensed iconic characters (such as in the majority of TV cartoon adapted from existing works).
This case study provides therefore powerful ideas to discuss previous works on quality-TV for children (Oswell, 2002; Steemers, 2010, 2016), in particular its relationship to pedagogical goals, as well as on the globalization-localization of children’s cultural goods (Cross & Smith, 2005). Similarly, it strengthens our understanding of cultural industries and their tensions between the standardization of children mass culture, with its diffusion through licenses, and the “arty” position of some creations, which constitutes exceptional goods for selected consumers.
Sessions 4: Arts and social research with children
Drawing on fire: gathering children’s knowledge and needs after disaster
Ana Sofia Ribeiro, Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lisbon, & Isabel Silva, Grupo Aprender em Festa, Gouveia, Portugal
Disasters, either of natural or social origin, are increasingly more common all over the word, originating not only concern and fear, but also questioning and rearrangement. In Portugal, the 2017 summer brought wildfires of an unforeseen scale that killed over 100 people, wounded many and destructed the industrial and ecological system of the inland region. In the aftermath of the event, villages have united in the search of self-protection measures and civil society entered the field, bringing support to those deemed more vulnerable, including children. In the context of demographic downturn and depopulation that affects the inland territories, listening to children acquires a particular relevance, for on their future preparedness and current security relies the sustainability of many communities. However, central civil protection or education departments displayed no targeted indications addressing children in the affected areas, deeming invisible their needs and capacities.
Our exploratory visual research is based on drawings and texts (drawing and writing technique) from 2 groups of children aged between 6 and 11 years old, residents of two parishes in the Gouveia municipality, one of the many impacted by the 15th October fires. By collecting children’s perspectives on wildfire risk, we take into account the children’s rights agenda, in particular Article 12 of the UNCRC, which states children’s right to participation and involvement in decision-making on matters than affect their lives, and the Sendai Framework, which sees children as agents of change in their families and communities. Empowering their voices, we assume that rural children’s experiences with wildfire disasters can potentiate their involvement in preparedness and response procedures and inform policies and practices of resilience in these territories, recognizing their diverse culture. Aligned with these assumptions, we follow a constructivist grounded theory approach (Glaser & Strauss, 1967) to data analysis. This approach was already employed to research children’s knowledge about wildfires emergency response in the Australian context (Towers 2015) but also in other wildfire related studies (Monroe et al. 2016), being widely used in childhood scholarship.
In our analytical process, we have focused on the meaning of this particular wildfire disaster to children, paying attention to aspects of agency and emotions aroused by the disaster experience. Preliminary insights suggest that children in our study have unclear understanding about the causality of wildfire disasters, often echoing justifications and perspectives shared by families and media, namely attributing individual blame. Regarding agency, discourses about cleaning forests and environmental concerns are also reproduced in children’s accounts. These findings point to the need of establishing tailored communication directed to children affected by disasters, in order to pacify their doubts and fears and enable them to produce their own narrative of the events.
The results of our consultation will also be presented in Gouveia municipality, as part of ongoing fora debates.
Glaser, B. G., & Strauss, A. L. (1967). The discovery of grounded theory: Strategies for qualitative research. Chicago: Aldine Publishing.
Monroe, Martha C, Heidi L Ballard, Annie Oxarart, Victoria E Sturtevant, Pamela J Jakes, and Emily R Evans. 2016. “Agencies, Educators, Communities and Wildfire: Partnerships to Enhance Environmental Education for Youth.” Environmental Education Research 22 (8). Routledge: 1098–1114. doi:10.1080/13504622.2015.1057555.
Towers, Briony. 2015. “Children ’s Knowledge of Bushfire Emergency Response.” International Journal of Wildland Fire, no. 24: 179–89.
The application of participatory methodologies with Angolan children – story of an investigation
Luena Marinho, Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lisbon, Portugal
In research with children, the use of participatory methodologies emphasizes the agency of children, their ability to influence the reality that surrounds them, to become involved and to react to the various phenomena that encircle them.
The context in which the children are studied influences the relationship with the investigator, being able to condition the obtained results.
It is common in the Western world to study children and young people in the school context, taking advantage of that formal institution that ends up giving the researcher some facilities by simplifying their access to participation authorizations, facilitating research mediations, etc., which may be longer and less achievable in an informal setting. The use of this type of context may, however, depending on the subject under analysis, generate a misrepresentation in the information. The context in which research takes place, regardless of whether it is formal or informal, should be considered when analyzing the results.
In the Angolan context, children are not accustomed to being part of social research. In fact, given the historical-political circumstances that have engulfed the country leading to a long period of civil war, which only ended 15 years ago, they determine the lack of social research that exists in the country, and the area of childhood is not considered as a priority. The present text is based on the reflection resulting from the challenges encountered during the field work carried out in the scope of the doctoral thesis “The presence of absence – the children and their ways of living and represent the family, between Angola and Portugal “, whose focus was to understand the effects of migrations in the domain of family relations, favoring the point of view of children
For the development of the empirical work creative methods were adopted, seeking to make data collection more motivating and playful, but simultaneously acceding to the opinions and representations of the children.
The characteristics of the actors, as well as the conditions of the schools where the data collection took place, compelled to flexibilize the previously defined practices, expanding the researcher’s capacity to drop some research ideas, whether they were research topics or the use of certain techniques. Thus, there was a redefinition and realignment of the methodological strategy, to meet the specificities and interests of the children and the objectives of the research.
The use of participatory methodologies, especially developed with children, should have underlying a plan of action that considers ethical issues.
The methodological options should always meet the target audience, and the researcher must be resilient and have the capacity to adapt to the unforeseen issues that arise during the investigation.
Building resilience through creative self-expression: Engaging with citizenship, culture and context
Kylie Stevenson, Lelia Green & Panizza Allmark, Edith Cowan University, Australia
This paper explores the symposium theme of “how children’s self-expression through the arts…enables them to transgress borders of generation, class . . . and other axes of inequality”. We examine how child participant engagement in a Photovoice workshop (Strack et al., 2004), held as part of recreational camps run by the St Vincent de Paul Society (Western Australia) (‘Vinnies’), offered the opportunity for both private and public expression of children’s life experiences. We investigate how these experiences supported the children in building resilience, potentially transgressing the barriers of inequality due to parental welfare dependency.
Our theoretical framework for the examination of this aspect of the Hand Up: Disrupting the communication of intergenerational welfare dependency research project, funded by the Australian Research Council, employs Ungar’s (2004) argument for “a constructionist discourse on resilience” (p.341). This approach, Ungar argues, reflects that “resilience factors are multidimensional, unique to each context . . . [and are] challenges that build capacity for survival relative to the lived experience of individuals” (p.344). Children’s Photovoice engagement, within the context of the Vinnies’ camp, becomes a vehicle through which they may explore and express their lives, as active citizens within their community. This creative engagement adheres to the premise that meaning is socially constructed, and that what people say and do makes visible the meanings which underpin their actions and statements within a wider social context (Burr 2003).
The research process investigates the lives of 12 families identified through the Partner Organisation’s networks, principally employing in-depth, semi-structured interviews (Seidman 2006), plus the Photovoice artistic elements, as a means of exploring attitudes, beliefs and actions (Ierardi et al. 2007, p. 262). These data reveal a layered approach to building resilience and self-efficacy (Bandura 1977) in which both the volunteers who staff the camps, and the children participating in the camps, benefit from the program.
Lodogar and Fleming (2008) suggest that the building of resilience and social capital are related, and can be expressed by a four-dimensional framework linking community construction with individual social capital. In this paper we examine how Vinnies Youth specifically focuses upon both individual resilience and the building of social capital. This two-pronged approach not only supports the building of resilience in children from Vinnies’ families as they are inducted into the camp culture, but it also assists with the development of resilience in the young volunteers who work with them, helping both parties transgress inequality.
Bandura, A. (1977). Self-efficacy: toward a unifying theory of behavioral change. Psychological review, 84(2), 191.
Burr, V. (2003). Social constructionism, 2nd ed, Oxford: Routledge
Ierardi, F., Bottos, M. & O’Brien. M. K. (2007). Safe expressions: A community based creative arts therapy program for at-risk youth, in Camilleri, V. A. (ed). Healing the inner child: Creative arts therapies with at-risk youth (254-267), London, UK: Jessica Kingsley Publishers
Ledogar, R.J. & Fleming, J. (2008). Social capital and resilience: A review of concepts and selected literature relevant to Aboriginal youth resilience research. Pimatisiwin Journal of Aboriginal and Indigenous Community Health, 6 (2), 25-46. Accessed online 20 January 2018 at http://www.pimatisiwin.com/online/?page_id=223
Seidman, I. (2006). Interviewing as qualitative research: A guide for researchers in education and the social sciences, New York, NY: Teachers College Press, Columbia University
Strack, R. W., Magill, C., & McDonagh, K. (2004). Engaging youth through photovoice. Health promotion practice, 5(1), 49-58.
Ungar, M. (2006). A constructionist discourse on resilience” multiple contexts, multiple realities amongst at-risk children and youth, Youth & Society, 35 (3), 341-365. DOI: 10.1177/0044118X03257030
Session 5: Food insecurity, poverty and children rights
Towards a child-centric approach to child poverty
Gill Main, University of Leeds, UK & Lucia del Moral, University of Cadiz, Spain
This paper examines how different approaches to theorising, defining and measuring poverty have dealt with the specific case of child poverty. Drawing on Lister’s (2004) emphasis on the importance of concepts, definitions, and measures, we argue that while a great deal of effort has been put into developing child-centric measures of child poverty, less attention has been paid to developing child-centric concepts and definitions. We suggest that problems and inconsistencies arise as a result of imposing adult-centric concepts and definitions onto the unique situation of children. Drawing on three dominant approaches to (child) poverty studies – Townsend’s (1979) relative deprivation, Sen’s (1985) capabilities, and rights-based approaches – we examine how each has treated children and how concepts and definitions might be modified and synthesised to develop a truly child-centric approach to the study of child poverty. By placing the child in the centre of our conception of child poverty, and identifying geographical spaces, social dimensions, and needs, we attempt to develop a theory of child poverty which builds on the important contributions of existing approaches and which can offer a stronger framework for child-centric measurement. Distinguishing between needs (ends) and satisfiers (means), we argue that poverty is a social fact but indicators of poverty are highly contextualised and relative. That is, even if we agreed on a universal set of needs, the weighting of these needs in relation to each other would vary across childhood and the life course, but also across cultural contexts. Likewise, the resources needed for their satisfaction would vary both across the life course and across time. Through proposing this approach, we attempt to begin to develop a method for studying poverty across different temporal and cultural contexts, maintaining conceptual comparability while avoiding the trade-off between rigid indicators whose meaning changes over time, or lack of comparability over time as indicators change.
How Living Rights can help us to apply notions of child rights in varying cultural and political contexts in the global south
Vicky Johnson, Department of Anthropology, Goldsmiths, University of London, UK
YOUR (Youth Uncertainty Rights) World Research applies innovative approaches to case study research. It seeks to understand the complex realities of marginalised youth in fragile environments and conflict affected areas of Ethiopia and Nepal. Strategies to engage marginalised and vulnerable youth, experiencing intersecting structural inequalities, have been co-constructed with national teams of researchers and young people in rural and street situations across eight research sites. Case studies, currently being conducted with 500 young people (aged 15-24), focus on their feelings about: places and spaces they inhabit, their access to resources, changing intergenerational and peer relationships, transitions to adulthood, and their aspirations and decision-making in relation to education, work and migration. Research partnerships that are being developed within YOUR World across the two countries span civil society and non-governmental organisations, government services and policy makers, media and youth movements. In the different national and local contexts there is varying acceptance/ denial of certain aspects of rights discourses. This has influenced strategic development of YOUR World research partnerships and practices on the ground.
The recent re-theorisation of child rights in international development (Hanson and Nieuwenhuys 2013) has helped national teams to put notions of child and human rights into differing cultural and political contexts. The paper presents an analysis of team strategies for conducting research with young people in relation to the three pillars put forward in this theory: living rights, social justice and translation. Particular attention is given to analysis of how these concepts, particularly living rights, have interacted with YOUR World Research. Exemplary case studies, emerging themes from cross case analysis and reflection on research strategy will be used to provide contrasting examples from Ethiopia and Nepal. Conclusions are drawn about: who we define as marginalised and/or vulnerable; how child rights theories can map onto research that employs youth participation and national research partnerships; and how this informs further research on youth pathways out of poverty in different political and cultural contexts.
Hanson, K. and Nieuwenhuys, O. (Ed.) (2013), Reconceptualizing Children’s Rights in International Development: Living Rights, Social Justice and Translations, New York: Cambridge University Press
The implications of food insecurity on children’s food practices through their eyes: a mixed method approach
Vasco Ramos, Fábio Rafael Augusto, Sónia Goulart Cardoso, Mónica Truninger & Manuel Abrantes, Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lisbon, Portugal
Over the last decade, there was a sharp increase in food insecurity and poverty in several European countries as a consequence of the financial and economic crisis (2008). Higher rates of food insecurity were associated with unemployment, falling wages and wider income disparity, phenomena which were amplified by the ensuing austerity measures adopted by many governments. Many researchers and organizations have been pointing out that food insecurity bears high social, economic and health costs. Inadequate nutrition is related to poverty, social exclusion and some health conditions, namely (and paradoxically) with obesity. In Portugal, food banks and other initiatives reported a considerable increase in the number of individuals/families applying for emergency food aid, at least from 2008 to 2015. During the same timeframe, several media outlets reported an increase in children arriving hungry at school. As a response, many schools decided to keep their canteens open during holidays, so as to provide at least one hot meal per day for those who need it.
Although most observers acknowledge that the economic crisis and austerity had a profound impact on the lives of many children, there aren’t many studies that take into account their everyday lives, in a context of widening social inequalities. Even fewer studies consider children’s lived experiences and how food poverty/insecurity affects their livelihood. Addressing food insecurity at the household/individual level is challenging, not only because individuals might feel embarrassed to share information they consider shameful, but also because food practices are embodied and embedded in social relations, which renders them less accessible to textual representations (O’Connell, 2013; Sweetman, 2009). While this is true regardless of age, some authors believe it to be more so when talking about children and pre-teens, because of differences in levels of linguistic competence and cognitive ability (Clark, 1999).
Drawing on the Portuguese sub-sample of a larger research project funded by the European Research Council (Families and Food in Hard Times – FP7/2007-2013/ERC Grant 337977), this paper addresses everyday food practices of children and teenagers. The research project uses a mixed methods approach, which includes a combination of semi-structured interviews and auto-driven photo-elicitation interviews with 45 food insecure families (parents and children) living in urban and rural areas of the Greater Lisbon Area. Findings enable us to explore the implications of food insecurity for children. Additionally, it allows us to discuss the benefits, challenges and limitations of using visual methods to address these issues.
Food banks through the eyes of children: a neglected perspective
Fábio Rafael Augusto, Mónica Truninger, Sónia Goulart Cardoso, Vasco Ramos & Manuel Abrantes, Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lisbon, Portugal
With the advent of the socioeconomic crisis of 2008, the living conditions of the Portuguese families have worsened considerably. Since then, there has been a significant increase in unemployment, poverty and social exclusion. The State and the social support provided by it have suffered severe budgetary restrictions that resulted from a process of implementation of austerity measures (Almeida, 2016).
As a result, several types of food aid initiatives were called to intervene. Data collected by the Portuguese Federation of Food Banks show that food aid went from 249,593 people assisted in 2008 to 384,930 people in 2014. Regarding the number of active institutions supported by Food Banks, it has also increased from 1528 institutions in 2008 to over 2600 in 2014.
The expansion and the increasing use of this type of initiatives has contributed to feeding several debates on the role that they play. Issues related to the impact, functioning, evaluation of the effectiveness, adequacy of the type of assistance provided and ethical concerns have all been discussed within and outside the academic field. The main criticisms pointed out in the food aid literature are related to: i) the legitimization of the neoliberal model; ii) the feeling of dependence they fuse among families in need; iii) the nutritional inadequacy of donated foods; and iv) human dignity and its costs (e.g. Poppendieck, 1999).
Several studies have focused the analysis on food aid recipients’ views and perspectives, unveiling the meanings that are attributed to the responses offered by such initiatives. However, and although the use of food aid initiatives has an impact on all family members, children´s perspective is often neglected in scientific studies. In this way, and based on the data collected in the project “Families and Food in Hard Times” (FP7/2007-2013/ERC Grant 337977, funded by the European Research Council), this paper seeks to provide the neglected perspective of children on a food aid initiative (Food Bank), which has fueled controversy in political and academic debates. The empirical material is based on 45 semi-structured interviews carried out with food insecure families resident in the region of Lisbon (encompassing both semi-rural and urban areas). The interviews were conducted separately with the parents and also, with the children aged between 11-15 years old. It is concluded that some children engage with the food banks and that they have a critical perspective on them, reflecting on the role they play in today’s society.
Session 1: Formal and non formal education – Family, parenting and gender
Understanding and/or promoting children’s well-being: a political and theoretical issue
Claude Martin, CNRS, Université de Rennes, France
Child’ subjective well-being is a controversial issue, as on one side, it seems difficult to guarantee comparability of the information collected and, on the other, it may lead to different political orientation in order to define public policies’ objectives. Among the differences between countries, some information concern communication between adolescents and their parents or their feeling to be supported by their parents, etc. In the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) inquiry which is repeated almost every 4 years among samples of 11, 13 and 15 years old boys and girls in more than 40 countries and regions in Europe (WHO’s definition), France is in the last position when comparing adolescents’ communication with their parents and their capacity to communicate about their main concerns. In our communication, we propose to develop these data and formulate hypothesis to understand the variations between four countries (UK, France, Portugal and the Netherlands). They are indeed positioned at different level for many of the data collected. We argue that this information is related to different parenting cultures and parenting support policies’ orientations. Indeed, parenting support policies develop since more than 20 years in many European countries. These emerging policies recall previous interventions all along the 20th century in public health, prevention of delinquency, social work. Parenting cultures (Lee et al., 2014, Hendrick, 2016) not only refers to social and geographical variations of parenting practices but also to cultural dimensions historically rooted. It is still the case when one consider the way parenting cultures are related to the current “culture of risks”, where risks are not anymore understood as a probability but as a threat. We argue that parenting cultures are a component of childhood’s theories. This interaction is particularly crucial, in a context where the current generation of parents is (more or less) anxious about the future of their children due to the break in upward social mobility. Such a perception of risks leads at the same time to a growing demand of support and advices from the parents, to difficulties in parents’ adolescents communication and relationships and to a tendency for public policy to defend a “parental determinism” (Furedi, 2002), which considers parents and their practices to be the main source of social problems and difficulties in childhood socialization.
Migrations and transnational spaces of education: construction of the identity of girls and parenting in Moroccan, Pakistani and Senegambian families in Spain
Ingrid Agud, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, Spain
This contribution is related to varying areas of the symposium, principally “Theorisations of cultural processes and citizenship practices (concerned with, for example the arts, sports, sciences, education, food or other aspects of daily life) in current economic and political contexts” and “Theorisations around intersections of gender, ethnicity, disability, class, nationality and age applied to children”.
The aim of this presentation is to discuss our ongoing research project1 which examines how transnational spaces of education contribute to the construction of cultural and social identities of girls (6 to 12 years old) of Moroccan, Pakistani and Senegambian families and the influence of parenting in this process, in the context of migration and social transformation in Spain. Our previous research findings stressed the importance of intra-family negotiations to move between the (Muslim) family and/or community spaces, the school and academic spaces (lay). Therefore, we consider it indispensable to know how the identities of girls are constructed from an early age in intra-family relationships, as these will allow flexibility in the election of their trajectories.
To approach this question, the theoretical framework is built from the interrelationship between the following disciplines: (1) studies on migration and transnational feminism, linking social transformations with cultural hybridizations and identities that form in the educational and care relations; (2) anthropology of education, as the roles and controls of gender are essential in the formation, maintenance and change of ethnic social boundaries, for example, resistance to cultural assimilation through the reaffirmation of the gender roles or control of the girls and women by the group; and (3) postcolonial feminist theories and studies of masculinities. To explore contemporary subjectivities of girls and their families, implies to avoid the imposition of universal stories to find the singularities and difference.
Methodologically, the research will be conducted as a visual collaborative ethnography, consisting of two phases in the fieldwork: the observation units are Moroccan, Pakistani and Senegambian communities in Catalonia during the first phase of fieldwork; and the second phase, to contrast, will take place with families and educational agents in the regions of Madrid, Murcia and the Basque Country. The techniques we will use are participant and videographic observation, ethnographic interviews, visual auto/biographical narratives, stories, focus groups and participatory workshops. The units of analysis are the girls and their family units, with a preference for the analysis of the mother-daughter and father-daughter relationship as socializing agents and possible role models. Information on the role of other members of the nuclear family and/or extensive family, both national and transnational, will also be collected.
At the current phase of the project we are carrying out visual collaborative ethnographies (video-tours, visual auto/biographical narratives, video-ethnographies, scrapbooks, ethnographic interviews, observation, etc) with four families. During the mid-term symposium we would like to discuss the theoretical framework, the methodological approach and the preliminary outcomes from the first phase of the research.
Early socialization of boys and its impact on gender equality
Rita B. Correia, Vanessa Cunha, Leonor Rodrigues & Susana Atalaia, Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lisbon, Portugal
This presentation examines the influence of primary and secondary socialization on children’s gender roles’ construction and their impact on the disparity between girls’ and boys´ educational and vocational paths. Departing from the main findings of the WHITE PAPER Men and Gender Equality in Portugal (Wall et al., 2017) we draw upon the secondary analysis of recent macro-indicators (e.g., INE, Annual Statistics of Education, PISA Reports) and take an interdisciplinary theoretical framework that gathers contributions from gender studies, social psychology and sociology, to further understand the social mechanisms in early socialization that imprint specific disadvantages in boys’ school trajectories and, later on, in their adult lives.
Indeed, gender is constructed over the life course from the experience, signs and observation of the social and cultural context in primary socialization, with noticeable early differentiation in the way boys and girls are brought up. Parental practices and expectations influence the performance, behavior and vocational choices of children, which in turn impact on boys’ and girls’ trajectories. During secondary socialization (e.-g, school), children are exposed to new values and meanings from formal and informal references (peers, teachers, school curricula). Those tend to reinforce stereotyped messages and lead to the (re)shape of masculine and feminine normative representations (Carrito and Araújo, 2013). For instance, school tends to reinforce the notion of “hegemonic masculinity” (Connell and Messerschmidt, 2005), i.e., a form of active, dominant, restless, disobedient masculinity that contrasts with a passive, obedient, receptive femininity. The assimilation of the ‘way of being boy/girl’ produces, depending on their social background, different dispositions regarding the schooling process and success. Boys tend to have lower academic expectations and higher dropout rates, with substantial short and long-term effects. Moreover, high feminization of the teaching and non-teaching staff and even textbooks tend to reproduce gender stereotypical roles. These gender scripts, reinforced through the media and through general patterns of consumption, are responsible for the (re)production of gender cultures (Aboim, 2010) since early age with consequences in boys wellbeing and educational performance, as well as later on in adulthood.
Findings from this research stress the importance of disclosing the making of gender inequalities and disadvantages from early childhood, in order to raise social awareness on the key-role of early socialization in the structural gender divide; and to produce new insights that take boys and men into account, to feed and inform public policies in a more inclusive perspective on gender equality.
Session 2: Formal and non formal education – Children agency in social spaces
Children’s appropriation of place and space: local citizenship and the right to the city
Manuel Jacinto Sarmento, University of Minho/CIEC-Institute of Education, Portugal & Gabriela de Pina Trevisan, ESEPF/CIOAF/CIEC, Portugal
The city is constituted by social relations, which are materialized within the framework of a space organization, marked by buildings, equipment, streets, urban furniture, green spaces, parks and squares, signals, lighting and decoration of places and squares. Life in the city is constructed, therefore, by the meanings and uses attributed to material elements, which enable and constrain social interaction. The study of children in the city is a subject of wide development, in Childhood Studies. Current researches mobilize interdisciplinary approaches, resulting from the crossing of knowledge between the sociology of childhood, the geography of childhood, urban studies and political science, among others. Main topics have looked at children’s participation in the city, the autonomy of child mobility, affordance theories, the production of children’s imagination about the city, urban policies and childhood, the social conditions of life of children, street children, etc. Less frequent are the studies on children’s relations with urban materiality: signs, structured routes, cultural equipment. As part of an ongoing interdisciplinary research project in a northern city of Portugal, aiming to construct a “learning field”, through the urban requalification and articulation of non-formal education with school education, counting on the active participation of children, we designed and conducted a visual ethnography of the processes of material appropriation of the urban equipment by the children. This communication focuses in two main studies: one, on the ways in which urban facilities are material interlocutors in the realization of children’s interactions with each other and with adults. The study of the routes, the use of cultural and leisure equipment and parks and green spaces highlight ways of action that are conditioned by the opportunities that the street design, urban furniture and equipment allows, either in a logic of integration, or in a logic of rupture and transgression of implicit rules, by the children. The construction of “learning fields” from the generated knowledge constitutes an opportunity for political action over urban materiality and a reconfiguration of the possibilities of children’s right to the city. Alongside this analysis, we will bring focus to a participatory research project of children’s participation in local policymaking processes, in Guimarães, analyzing their perspectives and proposals towards a “better” city life, in relation with different generations and different perspectives.
The ‘Child’ as Commoner. Commoning Citizenship in Informal Educational Settings
Yannis Pechtelidis & Stelios Pantazidis, University of Thessaly, Greece
In this presentation an alternative option in children’s participation in education, public life and citizenship in contemporary Greece is explored. The everyday life of a pedagogical community run by its members is described as a paradigm of alternative informal education. The authors critically discuss the contribution of the pedagogical social and cultural reality of the study to the empowerment of children’s status, and the embodied subjective features that are crafted within that community. Through the lens of the theory of ‘new commons’ (Ostrom, 1990; Hardt & Negri, 2012; Dardot & Laval, 2015; Bollier, 2014), we are especially focused on the intergenerational process of commoning education and citizenship, and the production of a heteropolitical commons’ habitus within this specific social and cultural group (Pechtelidis, 2016; Kioupkiolis & Pechtelidis, 2017). Commons are forms of collective equal ownership and rational management of material and/or immaterial resources that have been established by different communities to ensure the survival and prosperity of each of their members. Whether they are material, such as land and water, or immaterial, such as education and knowledge, the commoners (the members of the community) tend to form a collective network of social co-operation and interdependence. The commons’ structure is built on three interrelated main parts: (a) common resources, (b) institutions (i.e. communing practices and rules) and (c) the communities or the commoners who are involved in the production and reproduction of commons. The commons have limits, rules, social norms and sanctions determined by the commoners (Ostrom, 1990; Bollier & Helfrich 2015: 3; Hess and Ostrom, 2007, p. 10). In this context, it is claimed that not only the adults, but also the children are considered as commoners, because they play a part in determining the communing practices and rules, through their involvement in the assembly and the workings of community’s everyday life.
The ‘common’ is perceived here as a process of ‘commoning’ education (Means et al., 2017) and citizenship. It is not a static reality, but an alternative pedagogical and micro-political process that continually evolves beyond the dominant neoliberal order and the logics of top-down state power into directions we cannot fully predict (Ostrom, 1990; Hardt & Negri, 2012; Dardot & Laval, 2015). The commoning activity promotes new possibilities of subjectivity. There seems to be a growing of a specific set of subjective dispositions, such as: a) direct involvement in public and collective life, b) autonomy and c) self-reliance. This experience cannot be reduced to predefined meanings of political participation, citizenship, education, childhood, adulthood, and so on; hence, it becomes apparent how important it is to maintain and further promote the openness of concepts like ‘citizenship’, ‘commoner’, ‘child’, ‘pupil’, ‘teacher’, ‘parent’, and so forth inside any given discourse. Such concepts are created in the context of everyday life and thus are never final and fixed.
Our intention is to make the special lived experience of the children as commoners evident and to provide a critical understanding on how alternative children’s subjectivities and citizenship come into being. Particularly, it is explored the way children act or perform in accordance to the commons ethics and logic and how this contradicts with the conventional and established meaning of citizenship as an individualistic, post-political version of the political. Under examination is their collective action (together with the adults) on social structures and subjectivities (‘the political’) as part of the ordinary, face–to-face interactions and attempts at dealing with everyday problems. From this point of view, we address the following questions: How do children contribute to a process of ‘commoning education’, which constructs alternative learning spaces and fosters experiments in thought and action beyond the dominant neoliberal order and the logics of top-down state power and profit-driven markets? How do they engage in the production of an alternative collective, political version of the political?
The analysis draws on empirical data collected from a variety of sources, such as participant observation (ethnography), ethnographic interviews with children, and adults, blogs and Internet sites of the community, various Internet posts, videos and radio broadcasts, flyers. This study is part of a European research project: ‘Heteropolitics’: Refiguring the Common and the Political (ERC Consolidator Grant 2016).
Bollier, D. & Helfrich, S. (Eds.), (2012). The Wealth of the commons: A world beyond market & state. Amherst: Levellers Press.
Bollier, D. (2014). Think like a Commoner, A Short Introduction to the Life of the Commons. Gabriola Island: New Society Publishers.
Bourdieu, P. (1977). Outline of a Theory and Practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Dardot, P., & Laval, C. (2014). Commun. Paris: La Découverte.
Hardt, M. & Negri, A. (2012). Declaration. New York: Argos.
Hess, C. & Ostrom, E. (Eds.) (2011). Understanding Knowledge as a Commons From Theory to Practice. London: The MITpress.
Kioupkiolis, A., & Pechtelidis, Y. (2017). Youth Heteropolitics in Crisis-ridden Greece. In S. Pickard, & J. Bessant (Eds.), Young People and New Forms Politics in Times of Crises: Re-Generating Politics. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-58250-4
Means, J.A., Ford, R.D. & Slater, B.G. (Eds.) (2017). Educational Commons in Theory and Practice. New York: Palgrave MacMillan. doi: 10.1057/978-1-13758641-4
Ostrom, E. (1990). Governing the Commons. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Pechtelidis, Y. (2016). Youth Heterotopias in Precarious Times. The Students Autonomous Collectivity. Young, 24(1), 1-16. doi: 10.1177/1103308815595519
Pechtelidis, Y. (under press). Heteropolitical Pedagogies, Citizenship and Childhood. Commoning Education in Contemporary Greece, in C. Baraldi and T. Cockburn (eds). Theorising Childhood: Citizenship, Rights, and Participation. Palgrave Macmillan.
In and out the digital worlds. Hybrid-transitions as a space for children’s agency: a case-study from a pre-kindergarten in Boston
Angela Scollan, Middlesex University, UK & Federico Farini, University of Northampton, UK
Whilst psycho-pedagogical research has explored how technology impacts on child’s development (Siraj-Blatchford, 2006; Morgan&Siraj-Blatchford, 2013; Levin, 2013; Marsh, 2010), the implications of the use of digital technologies in educational settings for children’s agency remains an under-researched area.
This contribution introduces the concept of hybrid-transitions as a theoretical tool the social dimension of a child’s movement from immersion in digitally-enhanced experiences generated by educational technologies to participation in non-digitally mediated interactions. Hybrid-transitions are dense social spaces where children’s agency (James, 2009; Baraldi, 2015) is observable as authorship of narratives based on digitally-enhanced experiences that evolve into shared narrative through interaction with peers or adults.
The discussion is based on data produced through participant observation (Fine, 2003) taking place in two settings. The first setting is a pre-kindergarten in Dorchester, one of the most ethnically diverse neighborhoods in Boston. Children enrolled in the settings are between 2 and 5 years old, many from Hispanic/Latino background. The observations concerned the use of a software for the development of communication skills for children age 4 to 5 with English as second language. Two PC were software-enhanced, allowing four children to work at the same time during 30 minutes sessions; eight children were observed over two weeks.
The second setting is a nursery in Barnet (London), providing for 25 children age 2 to 4. Five children age 4 were observed for one month using software-enhanced tablets during 15/20 minutes activities designed to support them in building vocabulary.
The researcher took field notes and audio-taped children’s interactions during the use of digital learning technologies and while re-joining the other children in a group.
Observations suggest that the experiences enhanced by digital technology become the pivot for children’s production of interlaced narratives (Norrick, 2007; 2013; Stone&Bietti, 2016). During hybrid transitions, digital experiences are shared via personal narratives linking ideas, experiences and emotions. It is argued that interlaced narratives, and their interactive co-construction, represent a form of agency within the peer-groups.
However, data evidence divergence between children’s agency and the network of relationships and expectations constituting the context of children’s action (Bjerke, 2011; Wyness, 2014; Leonard, 2016). Hybrid-transitions eludes adults’ curricula-driven agenda and children’s agency becomes the blind spot of the adult.
It is suggested that adults’ working in digitally-enhanced educational settings tune into hybrid-transitions as an opportunity to appreciate spaces of agency that children co-construct while moving between digital and non-digital worlds.
Baraldi, C. (2014). Children’s participation in communication systems: A theoretical perspective to shape research. Soul of Society: A Focus on the Lives of Children and Youth, 18, 18: 63-92
Baraldi, C. (2015). Promotion of Migrant Children’s Epistemic Status and Authority in Early School Life. International Journal of Early Childhood, 47(1): 5-25
Bjerke, H. (2011). It’s the way to do it. Expressions of agency in child-adult relations at home and school. Children & Society, 25(2): 93–103.
Fine, G.A. (2003). Towards a peopled ethnography developing theory from group life. Ethnography, 4(1), 41-60.
James, A. (2009). ‘Agency’. In J. Qvortrup, G. Valentine, W. Corsaro, & M. S. Honig (Eds.), The Palgrave handbook of Childhood Studies (pp. 34–45). Basingstoke: Palgrave.
Leonard, M. (2016). Sociology of Children, Childhood and Generation. London: Sage.
Levin, D. (2013) Beyond Remote-Controlled Childhood: Teaching Children in the Media Age. Boston: NAEYC
Marsh, J. (2010) Young children’s play in online virtual worlds. Journal of Educational Research, 8(1)
Morgan, A., Siraj-Blatchford, J. (2013) Using ICT in the Early Years: Parents and Practitioners in Partnership. London: Practical Pre-School Books
Norrick, N. (2007). Conversational storytelling. In D. Herman (Ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Narrative. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 127-141
Siraj-Blatchford, I. (2006) A curriculum development guide to ICT in Early Childhood Education. Nottingham: Trentham Books
Wyness, M. (2014). Childhood. London: Polity.
Stone, C. B. and Bietti, L. (2016). Contextualizing Human Memory. An interdisciplinary approach to understanding how individuals and groups remember the past. New York: Routledge.
Session 3: Formal and non formal education – Children agency in social spaces
Children’s and adolescent’s participation in Disaster Risk Reduction: some insights from the CUIDAR project in Spain
Miriam Arenas, Israel Rodríguez-Giralt, Daniel López & Elena Guim, IN3, Open University of Catalonia, Spain
As the Spanish partners of the project CUIDAR (Cultures of Resilience among Children and Young People in Disaster Situations), we undertook a participatory process with about 90 children and adolescents (ages 9 -18), from 4 different locations during a year. They began by prioritising a relevant risk in their area, to analyse it and then decide what changes were needed. Later, they shared this work in a Mutual Learning Event, where they could ask, discuss and co-design possible solutions for their demands, along with invited experts and professionals from their particular areas of concern.
We will share some of the key insights that emerged during that process, which may help situate children and young people at the centre of Disaster Risk Reduction policies, as recommended by the Sendai Framework (2015). Firstly, we review the challenges of implementing high-quality participatory practices in disasters management. Framed by a highly adultist culture, it situates children and adolescents as a vulnerable group, but rarely as citizens with the right to participate in any topic that may affect them (as the CRC recognises), and with capabilities to make significant contributions to their communities. These resistances to participatory approaches are also reinforced by some schools, in contrast with other less institutionalised educational settings. Secondly, we outline the main contributions made by children during the process: they want to learn new things, with new methods and to have the chance to ask questions and dialogue with experts. In this new paradigm, they claim that emotions should be at the centre. They aim to share their everyday, embodied and lived experiences, as they consider that acknowledging how people feel is crucial and empowering in emergency situations. Similarly, and since they are not always with an adult, they (especially adolescents) want to have a more active role in the design and implementation of self-protection measures, especially in public spaces, where they want to be alone and autonomous with their friends. They also think of themselves as part of a community, so they claim more intergenerational approaches and more connected to their closest environments. Simultaneously, they are willing to becoming active agents in disasters management, especially in communication activities and strategies.
So, challenging the traditional assumption of childhood as an opposed category to adulthood, or as “future citizens”, children and adolescents demand a change in the current paradigm of disaster management. They ask to have an active role and not be seen only as a collective to be protected by adults and an approach where their capabilities and diversity can be recognised.
Materialities of Children living in Refugee Camps: Accommodation and Educational Reception in a Greek Small – Town Setting
Sonia Vlachou, Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences, Greece
My presentation undertakes a critical investigation on issues of power and its relationship to the construction of social disadvantage in the case of children refugees. Based on empirical observations made during my time an on-site Refugee Education Coordinator (REC) in a Hospitality Centre on the outskirts of a small Greek town, I intend to discuss some of the political and cultural mechanisms, which delimit refugee children’s prospects within foreseeable “Wasted Lives” (Bauman, 2004) scenarios through the scope of an interdisciplinary social- scientific approach that combines tenets of Pedagogy, Sociology and Cultural Anthropology. More precisely, I will examine the capacity of provisions such as the actual Hospitality Centre-Refugee Camp accommodation paradigm combined with the evening- school Educational Reception Structures for Children Refugees (ERSfCF, i.e. Gr.:ΔΥΕΠ) to empower young refugees at transforming the world around them, by paving their way towards social inclusion and participation.
My argument is that in contemporary Greece, the implementation of a transnational migration management that is directed at turning refugees away by denying any European co- responsibility for the continual reproduction of Uprootedness is combined with a series of ‘low key’ inner state –policies aimed at keeping the existing, national, socio-cultural order of things intact. That amalgam of impassiveness allows plenty of free space for the development of nationalist, discriminatory discourses, while framing a specific type of marginal materiality as the contingent Socioscape (Albrow, 2007) wherein refugee children’s livelihoods are bound to unfold. Clearly, the institution and preservation of various materially and symbolically separate spaces, wherein those children become situated in parallel to the native children’s realms is central to the engineering of their social disadvantage. Especially, spatial segregation in the domains of accommodation and education renders them invisible in daily life, while delimiting the boundaries of peer interaction among ‘same- category’ individuals. Thus, it prevents the development of what Bauman described as “a self – explanatory familiarity” and kindles the established community’s xenophobic reflexes against the hygienic, cognitive, behavioral and cultural menace represented by those young, ultra poor, aliens.
Session 4: Formal and non formal education – Children, participation and school
Experiences on co-creation of public spaces with teenagers. A case study in Alvalade, Lisbon
Joana Solipa Batista, Inês Almeida, Carlos Smaniotto Costa, CeiED, Universidade Lusófona, Portugal, & Marluci Menezes, LNEC-Laboratório Nacional de Engenharia Civil, Portugal
This contribution discusses the preliminary findings of a Case Study in Alvalade neighbourhood in Lisbon, conducted within the Project C3Places – using ICT for Co-Creation of Inclusive Public Places (H2020, JPI UrbanEurope, http://www.c3places.eu). C3Places addresses the question how digital technologies can be employed to engage different groups of users towards creating more attractive public spaces. The Lisbon Case Study was set to 1) explore the relationship between urban fabric, teenagers’ lifestyles and behaviour in public spaces; and 2) through participative methods, provide adolescents with tools to enable them to express their needs, ideas and values in public space and to participate in the process of public space design and planning. This contribution explores the consequences of taking adolescence as a social construct for urban and public spaces planning. Considered as adults’ in placemaking than actors with their own voice, teens’ requirements on public spaces are often not taken into consideration. Public spaces are however fundamental social arenas where teens evade adults’ surveillance and perform activities fundamental in the construction of individual and social identity, as hang out, be in nature, talk to one another, play and observe/interact with people of different generations and ethnicities. Questions as limitations on use imposed by others, conflict with other groups of users and inadequate design tend to decrease teens’ opportunities to be in public spaces. Teenagers’ are a group with specific needs, preferences and ideas, but often with no expression in the public sphere. In Alvalade neighbourhood, students of the Secondary School Padre António Vieira are being engaged in living labs, integrated under the school’s pedagogic project “Autonomous and flexible curriculum”, proposed by the Ministry of Education. Leaning on co-creation principles and ICT, methods as interactive interviews and narratives, field observations, photo mapping drawing/painting, video-making, free-writing/storytelling and public debates are being employed. This contribution, leaning on preliminary results of the Alvalade Living Lab, discusses the social and spatial practices that exclude teens’ from using and participating in the design of public spaces and the potential of methods of interactive engagement to foster inclusion and participation.
Children, Participation and Education: Does ‘how we know’ matter?
Deborah Crook, University of Central Lancashire, UK
Children’s participation in the everyday decisions of school classrooms and learning is restricted by assumptions about capacity, power and status in relation to adults. However, complexity theories, which challenge linear thinking, may provide a more useful lens through which to understand childhood by engaging in cross-disciplinary work that takes in to account complex systems, human relatedness and co-construction. Regarding schools as complex and adaptive with emergent properties reveals messy, relational spaces, influenced by temporal frames of reference, in contrast to simplistic, linear representations used to advance global education reform. What happens in society is reflected in schools, and vice versa; individuals co-construct the common through their interactions. Hence knowledge learned in schools is as much about societal values and systems as curriculum, and its consequences for democracy are too important to leave to chance. Osberg, Biesta and Cilliers (2008)1 suggest the dominant notion of knowledge in schools is representational, describing a static, separate world; therefore knowledge objects can be transmitted to children to prepare them to take their places in the social order of that world. Instead, through complexity, knowledge can be understood as a response to engagement with the world; thus it is temporal, dynamic and comes in to being when humans share more than representation. Children’s participation is opportunity to respond to their relationships with the world and others in it; hence how their knowledge is constructed and used to shape social space is as important as the goals, potential futures and change it seeks to effect.
Drawing on a study in England that enabled primary school children to shape spaces for participation in their classroom by focusing on intergenerational perspectives about schooling, this paper asks does ‘how we know’ matter? It proposes that children’s group inquiry and co-construction of knowledge are important aspects of participation, often overlooked as merely pedagogic practice when exercised in schools and similarly dismissed by educators as democratic practice unnecessary to achieve results. Yet, when children participate in the everyday decisions of their learning, roles change in ways that dispute assumptions about status.
Osberg, D. Biesta, G. and Cilliers, P. (2008). ‘From Representation to Emergence: Complexity’s challenge to the epistemology of schooling.’ Educational Philosophy and Theory, 40:1, 213-227.
The participation of children from three to six years old in learning – outdoors play
Joana da Silva Pinto, University of Minho/CIEC-Institute of Education, Portugal
The children’s rights of participation have been largely discussed throughout the last decades, particularly after the Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989, and within the frame of the new child paradigm as a social actor, underlined by childhood sociology. The participation of children in issues that matter them is a design highlighted by the Article 12th of the Convention, which here we focus on learning and educational process. Therefore, we will critically analyse the role of the school, pointing out the value of informal learning, the connection between learning and playing, as a children’s culture, and the citizenship of children through play. Often the discourses about children’s participation emphasize the right to express opinions and points of view – children’s voices. However, some researchers point out other directions, focusing also the actions of children, what they do and their agency, a perspective particularly relevant in this study.
Even though the right to play is formally assumed in Convention, it is not assured for Portuguese children nowadays. This is a popular subject in media discourses and a worry for many researchers. Children’s spontaneous play outside was replaced by structured activities inside, with less and less adventure, risk and physical movement. The institutionalization of children’s life is limiting them to locked buildings, inside the walls of schools and structured free time. Even for children in preschool ages there is a tendency to adopt formal learning approaches, undervaluing the role of free play. We also propose to consider the outdoor approach in education, especially inspired in outdoor culture of Nordic countries, as a relevant setting for children to play and learn informally. Although it is not a common practice in Portuguese kindergartens or schools, a few projects are emerging and some research is also being published. The overall aim of this study is to understand how children from three to six years old participate in their own learning process when they play freely outdoors. In order to achieve this we propose to carry out a ethnographic multiple case study in three different settings with a pedagogical approach based on informal outdoor activities: an outdoor kindergarten in Norway; an outdoor educational project in Portugal; and a kindergarten with an outdoor approach in Portugal. As data collection instruments we will use participant observation, spontaneous talks, interviews and focus groups, resorting to visual methodologies such as photographs, videos and drawings.
Session 5: Children and welfare protection
‘I am not a file or a spectrum, I am my own person:’ Redefining children and young people’s education, health and social care within a quality and rights framework
Geraldine Brady, Anita Franklin & Shirley Durell, Coventry University, UK
In the UK, the Children and Families Act (2014) aims to create one assessment of children with special educational needs or disability education, health and social care needs. It also aims for greater participation from children and young people in decisions about their own lives and to identify the issues that are of importance to them. However, the extent to which this is realisable in current practice is debated. There is evidence to suggest that children’s needs and desires across education, health and social care are not being fully met, partly because adult agendas drive policy, practice and standards of care in this arena. In addition, in policy there has been little emphasis on a more social model, moving away from impairments, conditions and special needs to what might need to be in place to ensure children’s full access to rights, equality and justice.
Our research team and disabled children and young people are co-leading a research project in which they have the opportunity to define a research agenda which speaks to what ‘quality’ might look like in planning for both their own future and that of other children and young people. Our approach has been informed by theoretical learning from the social studies of childhood and disability studies. This abstract triangulation of a social model of disability, childhood studies and rights is being applied by disabled young people to develop a framework which locates quality at the centre. Disabled children and young people are exercising agency in identifying areas of their lives which are most relevant and important to them in order to inform the questions that they want to ask of other disabled children and young people, of professionals and of parents. They have highlighted areas of social experience additional to education, health and social care, which are often the dominant domains when considering disabled children and young people. Taking the rights of children and young people seriously through what is being proposed requires significant change to the cultural context of how the lives of disabled children and young people are currently perceived.
Child Maltreatment Re-reports in Portugal: Evidence-base Cues for Improving Child Protection Assessment and Decisions
Leonor Bettencourt Rodrigues, L. B Rodrigues, J. Alexandre, D. Alvarez & R. Marques, Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lisbon, Portugal
The recognition of ‘children’ and ‘childhood’ as autonomous topics of research brings child protection, along with provision and participation, to the center of debate. Since childhood is shaped not only by its social, cultural and historical, but also political context, social policies efficacy must be assured and its action must draw on evidence-base. The most common indicator of child protection services efficacy is the number of closed investigations that are re-reported to child protection agencies. In Portugal, this indicator has been poorly recorded and analyzed. An ongoing study involving a partnership between child welfare practice (CNPDPCJ) and research, is undertaking the first in-depth understanding of child maltreatment re-reports in Portugal.
The first phase of the study considered all cases re-reported to CNPDPCJ in 2016 and entailed: 1.Database refinement, cross-verification and differentiation between re-reports, false re-reports and administrative errors in order to guarantee data quality and validity; 2.Identification of re-reports in which its previous closure depended on child protection services decision (CPS re-reports) and not on other factors or entities (e.g.,family/court); 3.Analysis of the time undertaken between previous (re)report and current re-report of CPS re-reports; and, 4.Preliminary descriptive analysis of children and case characteristics of CPS re-reports after until 24 months of previous (re)report.
From the initial 8109, the analysis revealed that 6919 were, in fact, re-reports which previous closure was the responsibility of child protection services and not of other factors or entities. Furthermore, 23,5% of the CPS re-reports occurred until 6 months after previous closure, 46,1% until 12 months and 75,7% until 24 months. Of the CPS re-reports which occurred until 24 months after previous closure, child neglect is the main type of abuse, child’s mean age is 11 years old and the main reason for the closure of the first report was ‘no longer a dangerous situation’. In addition to a reduction in the official percentage of re-reports within all child protection services cases followed in 2016 (from 11% to 7%), above all, these results revealed a set of weaknesses in child protection risk assessment and decisions, particularly, the ‘neglect of neglect’, i.e., the relative devaluation that, in a context of procedural overload and lack of resources, tends to occur in the assessment and prioritization of abuse over neglect cases. This is an overarching question in line with literature proving that, among the different typologies of maltreatment, neglect has the most serious and long-term consequences on child development.
Beyond children’s participation rights – inputs from research field
Helga Castro, Research Centre on Child Studies, University of Minho, Portugal
Amplifying the debate around children’s participation rights, children’s citizenship, and their lived experiences, in a specific institutional and cultural context, are the ambitious contributions of this presentation.
Notwithstanding children’s rights densification and the “new” theoretical childhood conceptualizations, they are still ambiguous as a social practice, and children’s image persists associated with lack of capacity, the need for protection and the minor’s statute within family law.
Through a sociological analysis of Law, in action, it was intended to deconstruct and overcome terminologies and symbolic negativities, and describing and interpreting children’s participation rights, in legal proceedings concerning the child and the family matters related with them. Report, discuss and disseminate the results of this multiple case study, held in 4 family courts, which included a documentary analysis of 446 judicial proceedings, it’s the proposal.
Research acknowledged that this jurisdiction is a breeding ground for prejudice, endures an endemic culture of non-participation, and is, therefore, permanently violating children’s rights insofar as it does not listen, or listens but does not consider their contributions. Time, space, and communication are simultaneously symptom and symptomatic of an institutional attitude that devalues, disregards, withdraws and is not child-friendly.
Those children’s written life stories highlighted that they have their childhood supervised, scrutinized, and prescribed by many kinds of professionals. Also, clarified that age, gender, ethnicity, class, family context, geographic location has diverse and varied effects on child’s recognition, on their involvement degree and effective participation.
Institutionalism, formality, a discursive tendency, and individualization are key aspects that characterize children’s participation. Even based on child-centred approaches, they still do not address child inclusion and their active involvement in decision-making. However, we cannot detach this from a system that its structured and thought by and for adults.
Besides all the measures taken to better incorporate UNCRC Article 12, we cannot confirm that professional practices follow at the same rhythm. In fact, children’s fundamental rights its acquired and proclaimed in the speech, as well as in the legal framework, but in action, praxis does not correspond to the same intents.
Considering research results and the emergency of public policies, that genuinely aid justice and social system, it is important to enlarge public discussion on how to improve children’s protection system, thru an effective and affective expression of children’s participation rights exercise, including judicial interveners mobilization, and incorporating a holistic and contextual view, sustained on bottom-up dynamics for a truly child-inclusive participation.
The Non-institutionalization and social actors on the crossroads
Isáu Meneses, Higher Institute of Technology of Mozambique and at the Higher Institute of Arts and Culture, Mozambique
In Mozambique, Social Action Policy gives particular emphasis to a set of principles, among which we intend to retake here, that of non-institutionalization. The purpose of this paper is to produce a heuristic reflection and a contextualized analysis of the concept of non-institutionalization, its application and impact to disadvantaged children.
The principle of non-institutionalization, as a concept and form of care, has been applied and discussed for a long time by several countries and researchers. Among the countries we can highlight Portugal, Brazil, South Africa, Mozambique, among others. Although there is no doubt about the importance of the institutionalization of childcare, there have been several trends in the contemporary world that call attention to the need to continue reflecting not only on the advantages and disadvantages of abandoned child custody in social welfare institutions, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of guarding children in institutions of this nature, given the concrete social realities, or the combined application of the two principles. It is in this context that this paper engages the non-institutionalization of disadvantaged children using a qualitative approach throughout a comparative analysis between two major cities in Mozambique, namely Maputo and Beira.
This paper is a result of a desk study which focused in analyzing the formal documentation on childcare policy in Mozambique, document analysis and a deep literature review. Associated to these techniques, the paper had a large contribution of the authors’ direct contact with childcare policy design and institutionalization practices during his professional activities.
Findings of this paper, demonstrate that there is a strong influence of the Action Plan for Orphans and Vulnerable Children which focuses on child care in foster and foster families. However, even if this plan plays an important role on non-institutionalization, there is an increasing trend of the institutionalization process, both in the Municipality of Beira and in Maputo. Considering the cosmopolitan character of the Maputo Municipality, a high degree of anonymity and a lesser expression of solidarity, contrary to what happens in the municipality of Beira, we believe that the nature of the oscillation that characterizes both municipalities is understandable due to the differentiated impact of the processes of institutionalization versus non-institutionalization in both cities.
 This research participates to a study about the conception and circulation of cultural goods for children; it received funding of the Labex ICCA (cultural industry and artistic creation) of Sorbonne Paris Cité University.
 1 Research funded by the Ministry of Economy of the Government of Spain Ref: EDU2016-78958-R. The research team is form by 19 members.