The 'Poor Child': The cultural politics of education, development and childhood, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The 'Poor Child'

The cultural politics of education, development and childhood, 1st Edition

Edited by Lucy Hopkins, Arathi Sriprakash


210 pages

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  • Why are development discourses of the ‘poor child’ in need of radical revision?

  • What are the theoretical and methodological challenges and possibilities for ethical understandings of childhoods and poverty?

The ‘poor child’ at the centre of development activity is often measured against and reformed towards an idealised and globalised child subject. This book examines why such normative discourses of childhood are in need of radical revision and explores how development research and practice can work to ‘unsettle’ the global child. It engages the cultural politics of childhood – a politics of equality, identity and representation – as a methodological and theoretical orientation to rethink the relationships between education, development, and poverty in children’s lives.

This book brings multiple disciplinary perspectives, including cultural studies, sociology, and film studies, into conversation with development studies and development education in order to provide new ways of approaching and conceptualising the ‘poor child’. The researchers draw on a range of methodological frames – such as poststructuralist discourse analysis, arts based research, ethnographic studies and textual analysis – to unpack the hidden assumptions about children within development discourses. Chapters in this book reveal the diverse ways in which the notion of childhood is understood and enacted in a range of national settings, including Kenya, India, Mexico and the United Kingdom. They explore the complex constitution of children’s lives through cultural, policy, and educational practices. The volume’s focus on children’s experiences and voices shows how children themselves are challenging the representation and material conditions of their lives.

The ‘Poor Child’ will be of particular interest to postgraduate students and scholars working in the fields of childhood studies, international and comparative education, and development studies.

Table of Contents

Unsettling the global child: rethinking child subjectivity in education and international development Lucy Hopkins and Arathi Sriprakash. Section 1: Cultural representations of childhood and poverty ‘It shouldn’t happen here’: Cultural and relational dynamics structured around the ‘poor child’ Erica Burman. ‘Black kid burden’: cultural representations of Indigenous childhood and poverty in Australia Kristina Gottschall Section 2: Contextualising the ‘poor child’: children’s voices as modes of resistance Child labour, schooling and the reconstruction of childhood: a case study from Kenya Angela Githitho Muriithi. Victims of what? Misunderstandings of anti-trafficking child protection policies in Benin Simona Morganti. The construction of resilience: voices of poor children in Mexico Luz María Stella Moreno Medrano. Section 3: Questioning the project of schooling and the politics of development Policy constructions of childhoods: impacts of multi-level education and development policy processes in Southeast Asia and the South Pacific Alexandra McCormick. Modernity and multiple childhoods: interrogating the education of the rural poor in global India Arathi Sriprakash. Picturing education, poverty and childhood from the perspectives of yak herder children in Bhutan Lucy Hopkins. Revisioning ‘development’: towards a relational understanding of the ‘poor child’ Arathi Sriprakash and Lucy Hopkins.

About the Editors

Lucy Hopkins is a lecturer in children and family studies at Edith Cowan University, Western Australia.

Arathi Sriprakash is a lecturer in sociology of education at the University of Cambridge, UK.

About the Series

Education, Poverty and International Development

This series of research-based monographs and edited collections provides new analyses of the relationships between education, poverty and international development. The series offers important theoretical and methodological frameworks for the study of developing-country education systems, in the context of national cultures and ambitious global agendas. It aims to identify the key policy challenges associated with addressing social inequalities, uneven social and economic development and the opportunities to promote democratic and effective educational change.

The series brings together researchers from the fields of anthropology, economics, development studies, educational studies, politics international relations and sociology. It represents a unique opportunity to publish work by some of the most distinguished writers in the fields of education and development along with that of new authors working on important empirical projects. The series contributes important insights on the linkages between education and society based on inter-disciplinary, international and national studies.

Sharp, critical and innovative studies are sought that are likely to have a strategic influence upon the thinking of academics and policy-makers. They may include critical syntheses of existing research and policy, innovative research methodologies, and in-depth evaluations of major policy developments. Some studies will address topics relevant to poverty alleviation, national and international policy-making and aid, whilst others may represent anthropological or sociological investigations on how education works or does not work within local communities, for households living in poverty or for particular socially marginalised groups. Preference will be given to studies with a comparative international approach although some single-country studies will be considered, where they raise interesting theoretical and policy issues with clear relevance for international audiences.




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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Educational Policy & Reform / General