The Politics of Childhoods Real and Imagined: Practical Application of Critical Realism and Childhood Studies, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Politics of Childhoods Real and Imagined

Practical Application of Critical Realism and Childhood Studies, 1st Edition

By Priscilla Alderson


202 pages

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The second volume of Priscilla Alderson’s popular and renowned book Childhoods Real and Imagined relates dialectical critical realism to childhood. By demonstrating their relevance and value to each other, Alderson presents a practical introductory guide for applying critical realism to research about children and young people.

Each chapter summarises key themes from several academic disciplines and policy areas, ranging from climate change and social justice between generations, to neoliberalism, social reform and imagining utopias. Children’s and adults’ views and experiences are reviewed, and whereas the first volume deals with more personal and local aspects of childhood, this volume widens the scope into debates about global politics, which so seldom mention children. Each chapter demonstrates how children and young people are an integral part of the whole of society and are often especially affected by policies and events.

This book is written for everyone who is researching, studying or teaching about childhood, or who cares for and works with children and young people, as well as those interested in critical realist approaches.


"The manner in which the author calls the political problems to be solved and reasoned is impressive and has great persuasive power." - Prof. Dr. Manfred Liebel, University of Berlin, Germany

Table of Contents

Part III: Background 8. Introduction Part IV: Childhoods in the Real ‘Adult’ World 9. Ecology: human relations with nature 10. Economics: interpersonal, international and intergenerational relations 11. Emergence: social structures 12. Ethics and emancipation: Reimaging the politics of childhood Glossary

About the Author

Priscilla Alderson is Professor Emerita of Childhood Studies at the Social Science Research Unit, UCL Institute of Education, London. She teaches on an international MA in the Sociology of Childhood and Children's Rights and her work on children's competence, wisdom and rights has been widely published. She also convenes the critical realism reading group founded by Roy Bhaskar at IOE, which meets on alternate Mondays for PhD students. Visiting academics and online contacts are very welcome.

About the Series

Ontological Explorations (Routledge Critical Realism)

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General