What is a child? The concept of childhood is so familiar that we tend to assume its universality. However, the meaning of childhood is always being negotiated, not only by the imaginations of adults, but also by nations, markets, history and children themselves. Yet, as much as the question is considered by the social world, the contributions in this book remind readers that children are also active, embodied, and inquiring agents engaged in figuring a relationship with that the world they inherit.
This book’s unifying theme, "The child in question," emerges from an assertation that childhood has boundaries far more elastic than can be held by the familiar notion of the innocent child developing toward a heteronormative future. The title pays homage to the work of sociologist, Diana Gittins, who, over twenty years ago, asked how the shifting meanings of children and childhood impact the lives of children. The contributions of this book examine contemporary educational policy and practice, curriculum material, literary and visual representations, and teacher narratives to further probe how and why it matters that childhood, as a concept and experience, remains as multiple and elusive as ever.
The chapters in this book were originally published as a special issue of the journal, Curriculum Inquiry.
Introduction: The child in question: Childhood texts, cultures, and curricula
Lisa Farley and Julie C. Garlen
1. The quasi-human child: How normative conceptions of childhood enabled neoliberal school reform in the United States
Debbie Sonu and Jeremy Benson
2. Teaching the Third World Girl: Girl Rising as a precarious curriculum of empathy
3. Fanon and the child: Pedagogies of subjectification and transformation
4. Comics and the structure of childhood feeling: Sublimation and the play of pretending in Gilbert Hernandez’s Marble Season
5. What is it like to be a child? Childhood subjectivity and teacher memories as heterotopia
Sandra Chang-Kredl and Gala Wilkie
6. L’ecole Gulliver and La Borde: An ethnographic account of collectivist integration and institutional psychotherapy
Gail Boldt and Joseph Michael Valente