Children as social actors, agency, and social competence: sociological reflections for early childhood

Moran-Ellis, Jo (2013) Children as social actors, agency, and social competence: sociological reflections for early childhood. Neue Praxis, 43 (4). pp. 323-338. ISSN 0342-9857

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The study of children in early childhood has, for most of the last 100 years, been dominated by developmental perspectives. This has resulted not only in a huge body of work documenting, accounting for and theorising how children grow up (controversies notwithstanding), but has also led to early childhood being in effect ›colonised‹ by this type of science and by questions of development and change. Qvortrup (1994: 4) summed this up as a dominant focus on what children will become to the neglect of what they are as persons in their early life. This hegemonic emphasis on development has been to the detriment of understanding childhood and children’s lives from a fully social scientific perspective. Until the 1990s the grip of developmental framings of the study of children and childhood left little room for sociological accounts of childhood, other than those stemming from theories of socialisation. This situation was challenged by sociological work which foregrounded an empirical sensibility towards children as social actors. This opened up a space of enquiry for understanding the social significance of the subjectivities of children and the implications of these for analyses and theorisations of both those social phenomena which are directly relevant for children and/or childhood and those which intersect with children’s lives and social worlds.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Published simultaneously in German and English
Keywords: sociology of childhood; early childhood; agency and actorship
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Sociology
Research Centres and Groups: Centre for Innovation and Research in Childhood and Youth
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology > HM0481 Theory. Method. Relations to other subjects
Depositing User: Joanna Moran-Ellis
Date Deposited: 09 Jan 2018 15:39
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2020 12:24

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