Bridging childhood studies, pedagogy and educational theory, critical psychology, and postcolonial studies, this unique book reads the role and functions of ‘the child’ and childhood as both cultural motif and as embodied life condition through the work of Frantz Fanon. Based on innovative readings of Fanon and postcolonial cultural studies, the book offers new insights for critical pedagogical and transformative practice in forging crucial links not only between the political and the psychological, but between distress, therapy, and (personal and political) learning and transformation.
Structured around four indicative and distinct forms of ‘child’ read from Fanon’s texts (Idiotic, Traumatogenic, Therapeutic, Extemic), the author discusses both educational and therapeutic practices. The pedagogical links the political with the personal, and Fanon’s revolutionary psychoaffective account offers vital resources to inform these. Finally the book presents ‘child as method’ as a new analytical approach by which to read the geopolitical, which shows childhood, education, and critical psychological studies to be key to these at the level of theory, method, and practice.
By interrogating contemporary modalities of childhood as modern economic and political tropes, the author offers conceptual and methodological resources for practically engaging with and transforming these. This book will be vital and fascinating reading for students and scholars in psychology, psychoanalysis, education and childhood studies, gender studies, postcolonial studies, and mental health.
Table of Contents
Chapter One: Fanon, education, action: towards child as method
Chapter Two: Idiotic child
Chapter Three: Traumatogenic child
Chapter Four: Therapeutic Child
Chapter Five: Extemic child
Chapter Six: Child as method
Erica Burman is Professor of Education at the Manchester Institute of Education, the University of Manchester, Honorary Fellow of the British Psychological Society, and a United Kingdom Council of Psychotherapists registered Group Analyst. She is author of Deconstructing Developmental Psychology (Routledge, 3rd edition, 2017), and Developments: Child, Image, Nation (Routledge, 2008).
O, to have had this book in hand over the years when I taught ‘Radical Theories of Education’! Fortunately, for many interested in this area of research it’s not too late. Erica Burman’s use of ideas from Frantz Fanon to illuminate questions of learning, guided by nuanced understandings of failure, offers ‘child as method’ but not as instrument or tool. This thought-provoking book brings to the fore educational theory as a self-critical human science without the aloofness of thought bereft of practice and sensitivity to the psychosocial dynamics of power. Lewis R. Gordon, Global Center for Advanced Studies and author of What Fanon Said: A Philosophical Introduction to His Life and Thought
‘Education, globally, needs to be challenged. Child as Method, inspired by Frantz Fanon, is a timely intervention to imagine a different mode of thought for a more creative and better future of the world, earth and planet.’ Kuan-Hsing Chen, Professor of Social Research & Cultural Studies, NCTU, Taiwan, author of Asia as Method: Towards De-imperialization
‘Erica Burman's pathbreaking interpretation of 'child as method' builds on Frantz Fanon's understanding of racism and oppression and the transformative power of individual and social resistance. Burman's unique work constitutes a major contribution to the interpretation of Fanon's work and its radical implications for educational and childhood development.’ Irene L Gendzier, Professor Emeritus, Department of Political Science, Boston University, US, author of Frantz Fanon: a critical study
‘Fanon as educator? It’s not the usual view – but Fanon’s writing can be a powerful resource for educational thought in a postcolonial world. Erica Burman’s detailed and scholarly treatment brings out a surprising range of intellectual connections and political implications from the famous texts. Her approach offers striking new thinking on race, coloniality, the psychology of child/adult relations, and the multiple meanings of childhood.’ Raewyn Connell, Professor Emeritus, School of Education & Social Work , University of Sydney, Australia, author of Southern Theory
‘‘Child as method’ is a unique and intriguing approach that contributes to postcolonial studies in education. The close involvement of this book with the re-reading of Fanon and the centrality of the child provide fascinating and substantial theoretical resources for ethically and politically committed educational research leading to a wider project of subjective and societal change.’ Yoonmi Lee, Professor, Department of Education, Hongik University, Seoul, Korea
‘Fanon, education, action: Child as method is a unique conceptual intervention articulating a critical practice to mobilise "a pedagogy of and for decolonization and redistribution". It foregrounds how Fanon’s theoretical, methodological and political activism coalesce with his conceptualisations of childhood to create a practice of child as method. In doing so, Burman offers a rare and distinctive way of reading educational and wider social pedagogical practices that offer some insightful relational and transformational possibilities.’ Sue Grieshaber, Professor of Education, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia
‘This book establishes the child as a recurring, pivotal figure in Fanon’s corpus and conversely, presents Fanon as a major resource for those engaged in analysis of the child in cultural-political practices. In deft readings of cases and scenes which include but go beyond the famous racialising encounter with a white child in Black Skin, White Masks, Burman uncovers an intersectional Fanon attuned to instability and nuance, a Fanon whose psychiatric and political practices are inseparable. The close readings bring into relief four distinct modes of operationalizing the child, variously deployed, complicated, and subverted by Fanon. Burman offers these as the basis for ‘child as method,’ neither a child nor the child, but both and more: it is a way of thinking the social, cultural, and political through invocations of child and the models of temporality, capacity, vulnerability, and transformability they carry. This book will be an important tool for those working in Childhood Studies, Education, Decolonization, Globalism, Women’s Studies and Cultural Studies.’ Jennifer Henderson, Associate Professor, Department of English/School of Indigenous & Canadian Studies, Carleton University