RN04 - Sociology of Children and Childhood
Developing critical research on children’s lives and positions in societies and on childhood as a social phenomenon
From a modest start in the 1980s, through increasing empirical and theoretical activity in the 1990s, the sociology of childhood research has become well established internationally. This field of study has developed critical alternatives to mainstream research on children and has generated significant contributions to understanding childhood as a social phenomenon and children’s lives and positions in societies. The importance of children and childhood(s) as topics for sociological study is reflected in a growing community of scholars engaged in theoretical and empirical work in this area across Europe. This includes work looking at children living in times of political change and transition, engagements with understanding childhood as a structural space in societies, and explorations of children’s everyday lives from their own perspective. These areas, together with issues of theorising childhood and methodological developments, will form important foci for the Research Network.
If you would like to be a member of our RN, please email the network coordinators.
- Cath Larkins, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK, clarkins[at]uclan.ac.uk
- Daniel Stoecklin, Université de Genève, Switzerland, daniel.stoecklin[at]unige.ch
- Lucía del Moral-Espín, University of Cádiz, Spain, lucia.delmoral[at]uca.es
Period 2015-2017 Coordinators:
- Nigel Thomas, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK, NPThomas[at]uclan.ac.uk
- Griet Roets, Ghent University, Belgium (Flanders), Griet.Roets[at]UGent.be
- Maarit Alasuutari (Finland)
- Claudio Baraldi (Italy)
- Tom Cockburn (UK)
- Pascale Garnier (France)
- Turkan Fırıncı Orman (Turkey)
- Vittorio Iervese (Italy)
- Vicky Johnson (UK)
- Cath Larkins (UK)
- Madeleine Leonard (UK)
- Lucia del Moral Espín (Spain)
- Randi Dyblie Nilsen (Norway)
- Ana Nunes de Almeida (Portugal)
- David Oswell (UK)
- Barry Percy-Smith (UK)
- Daniel Stoecklin (Switzerland)
- N. Patrick Thomas (UK)
- Hanne Warming (Denmark)
Advisory board members
- Florian Esser (Germany)
- Jo Moran-Ellis (UK)
- Yannis Pechtelidis (Greece)
- Griet Roets (Belgium)
- Maria Roth (Romania)
- Aleksandra Zalewska-Królak (Poland)
CHILDHOOD IN (CLIMATE) CHANGE
Childhood in (Climate) Change
Virtual Mid-term Symposium
European Sociological Association RN04 Sociology of Children and Childhood
Sion (Switzerland) 9-11th September 2020
30 Abril (extended deadline for abstracts)
Following extension of the deadline for abstract submission, we now come back to you in order to specify the format of the Mid-Term Symposium.
We have to adapt to the evolving situation regarding Coronavirus pandemic. ESA has asked Coordinators to consider to evaluate the likeliness of their respective mid-term conferences to take place in 2020 and to make decisions whether to maintain, cancel or postpone. As Coordinators of RN04, the undersigned have consulted the Board, and the following decision has been taken: The Mid-Term Symposium is maintained, it will be held on the same dates, 9-11th September.
While it is reasonable to think that crisis might be over by September, it might still be problematic to travel internationally.
Therefore, we are turning the Mid-Term Symposium into a virtual conference. This allows delegates to present their papers and participants to interact online. Besides this also allows Colleagues who had other meetings planned during these dates to reconsider participating (at least partially).
The tool that will be used for this virtual conference is Zoom. It is quite easy to handle and relevant for conferences. We will send you in due time instructions on how to use the app for the presentations (powerpoints) and the debates.
An optional possibility for this virtual conference is that delegates who are able to travel nationally meet together in a location agreed among them within their country, and hence participate as group (provided they can use a big screen). This would help not losing too much the collective strength of live exchanges.
We hope this information will help you make your choice to submit an abstract within the deadline that has already been extended until 30 April 2020.
As also mentioned before, if you have not yet submitted an abstract, you may consider adding the topic of the Coronavirus pandemic and its impact in terms of social change.
The exploratory nature of the papers that would be dedicated to this topic will be taken into consideration.
By addressing Childhood in (Climate) Change, this 5th mid-term symposium builds on the former mid-term events of the ESA Research Network 04 (Sociology of Children and Childhood) that took place in Jyväskylä (Finland), Modena (Italy), Ghent (Belgium) and Lisbon (Portugal), as well as the exchanges within this network during the bi-annual conferences of the European Sociological Association. It will confront a major issue underpinning these discussions, namely how social theories can account for continuities and change in childhood.
Researching childhood requires not only addressing biological, developmental, cultural, and legal perspectives in critical ways, but mainly analysing their intersectionalities in the constitution of the social ordering of children’s experiences. Hence, childhood cannot be reduced to one of these perspectives: it cannot be understood solely in terms of bodily characteristics, nor in terms of cognitive developments, nor in terms of cultural or legal treatment in specific contexts. It is, rather, an outcome of the encounters of all these factors: childhood encompasses sets of experiences that stem from and engender configurations of biological, psychological, social, cultural, legal and economic contexts.
Theoretically, childhood studies have strong roots in the « social construction of childhood » (Alanen 2015) and (still) rest on foundational critiques that led to a logic of replacing perspectives rather than integrating them in a broader framework. Sociologists of childhood have subsequently, however, contributed further insights by learning from « forms of experience » they observe in, with and within children and extending into wider areas of social theory. These highlight how and why childhood encompasses specific forms of experience in different contexts but also how different childhoods can be constructed and experienced in similar contexts. There is a need for stronger theoretically grounding to our understanding of forms of experience, contexts and interactions and how they contribute to shape and are shaped by life courses.
We know that not only do social configurations constrain and enable specific trajectories, they also induce major changes in the overall environment. Climate change (becoming a climate emergency) is a visible and sensitive outcome of human institutions including their social constructions of childhood. The climate crisis also puts forward new forms of relation between human/non-human animal, materials and emotions. Children are co-constructors of these interactions, which can challenge established categories (adults/children, nature/culture) and also frontiers between them". How children make sense of the challenges of global warming, how they react to this worldwide threat or how their everyday life is affected by it, is of course also enabled and constrained by the structures of power in human institutions. But climates are not only meteorological, the word climate can also refer to the prevailing trends of public opinion or economic (in)equalities, and any another ongoing aspect of social life.
With the aim of not only understanding but also transforming prevailing trends, the topic Childhood in (Climate) Change is of pressing current relevance. We anticipate that it may enable contributors and participants to identify and understand how theoretical accounts of continuity and change in childhood might be communicated to and by our academic peers and the children we work with and for. The potential political impact of such an integration is a crucial question in the face of the many casualties of social, cultural, economic and environmental inequalities.
The 5th Mid-Term Symposium of Research Network 04 (Sociology of Children and Childhood) of the European Sociological Association, will be organised in September 9-11th 2020 at the Centre for Children’s Rights Studies of the University of Geneva, located in Sion (Switzerland), at 2-hours train distance from Geneva airport. It will address the issue of Childhood in (Climate) Change by inviting scholars to submit theoretically and empirically informed papers on the following sub-topics (the same topic from different angles) :
- Changing climates
- Changing childhoods
- Changing identities
- Changing societies
- Changing economies
You may consider adding the topic of the Coronacrisis and its impact in terms of social change. The exploratory nature of the papers that would be dedicated to this topic will be taken into consideration.
The number of delegates will be restricted to 30 to enable discussion. The mid-term symposium will be organised around short papers or provocations, with extensive space for open discussion.
There are two formats authors can choose from (both within 90 minutes sessions):
- a standard presentation of 20 minutes (4 papers-session with 10 minutes at the end for discussion of the 4 papers)
- a presentation of specific points to be discussed (3 papers-session whereby each author introduces his/her paper in 10 minutes, provided the draft paper is distributed in advance (1st August 2020); each author would exchange with the audience about the specific points within 20 minutes).
The papers will be selected according to quality and relevance to the areas of the mid-term symposium.
Abstracts must be written in English in no more than 400 words, include 3-5 keywords, and specify the presentation format you choose (if you choose format b, you engage to deliver your draft paper by 1st August 2020). Please submit your abstract and full contact details as electronic files no later than 30th April 2020.
Send your abstract to RN04SION2020 [at] unige.ch
The notification of the evaluation of abstracts will be communicated by 31st May.
Registration to the mid-term symposium will be open from 1st June to 30th June.
Registration fee: free for ESA Members / 10 Euros for non-ESA members.
Participation is open to paper presenters as well as to anyone wishing to listen to presentations (places are limited).
All participants must self-fund their attendance (transportation, accommodation, food, and if required visa fees, expect for lunches and coffee breaks that are offered to paper authors only).
The coordinators of RN04:
Lucia del Moral Espín
ESA Conference 2019 in Manchester / UK
We invite papers from diverse countries and contexts, building on our network’s core interests and the conference themes: Boundaries, Barriers and Belonging. Papers may address children’s experiences, the structuring, construction or transformation of boundaries between adults and children, between adulthoods and childhoods, and between children and social and political spaces. This may include, for example, exploration of refugee experiences, migration policy or borders related to nation, age and other statuses.
Papers may reflect on barriers. How do children (and adults) experience the notion of barriers? What is a barrier? What are children barred from? Can barriers be enabling? What barriers should be removed? This may include explorations of the absence or presence of barriers for children in a symbolic and/or material sense. Papers may engage with children’s experience of and aspirations for belonging. What sense of affiliation, disaffiliation and recognition do children experience in what circumstances? How do symbolic/material worlds, similarities and differentiations, conflicts, boundaries and barriers act upon children? How do children interact with or create these?
Papers may also develop topics previously addressed within our network: Theorising childhood; methodologies; childhood and gender, sexuality, disability, race, ethnicity or religion; children’s rights, citizenship and participation; intergenerational and peer relations in children’s everyday lives; discourses and social constructions of children and childhood; children and migration; children and violence, poverty or (in)justice; children’s work.
We also invite reflection on Boundaries, Barriers and Belonging within our own discipline, in connection to other aspects of sociology and theoretical and empirical engagement with other disciplines.
Joint Session JS_RN04_RN13: “‘In the child’s best interests?’: Global perspectives on parenting culture, family policy and child well-being” (Joint session with RN13 Sociology of Families and Intimate Lives)
More information: https://www.europeansociology.org/about-esa-2019
Mid Term Symposium 2019 Sociology of Childhood: Theorising Childhood Engaging with Citizenship, Culture and Context
24-25 May 2018
Instituto de Ciências Sociais - Universidade de Lisboa / University of Lisboa, Portugal
Information: : https://esachildren2018.wordpress.com/
The ESA Research Network RN04, Sociology of Children and Childhood hereby announces a mid-term symposium which will take place in Lisbon (Portugal) from 23rd to 25th May, 2018. This symposium is organized in conjunction with the Instituto de Ciências Sociais, Universidade de Lisboa and the Institute of Education of University of Minho. The symposium continues and articulates the ideas developed during the symposia in Jyväskylä (2012), Modena (2014) and Ghent (2016).
The objective of this symposium is to enhance theoretical understanding of childhood drawing on classical and new directions in sociological theory.
Contributions are invited that take forward the themes of previous symposia: citizenship, rights, responsibilities, participation, status, membership, identity and vulnerability. Contributions are also sought that provide theoretical approaches to understanding children’s engagement with and through cultural processes and cultural products in different contexts (e.g. social, economic, political, organizational, interpersonal, and educational). This includes, for example, theoretical understandings of the economic and cultural mechanisms through which children access or are excluded from, the arts, sports, sciences, education or other aspects of daily life in the current economic and political contexts. It also includes theoretical exploration of how children’s self-expression through, for example, the arts or technology, may enable their participation in public and political life; and, how children’s engagement with cultural products and processes may enable them to transgress the borders of generation, class, gender, ethnicity, age and other axes of inequality.
To strengthen our capacity to theorise within childhood studies the symposium will explore the tensions and synergies between childhood sociology and other theoretical traditions presented, related to, for example, culture and arts, politics and economics, science and sport, architecture and urbanism. We will consider how interdisciplinary connections within sociology and with sociological, cultural, political and economic theory can facilitate a broader sociological understanding of children, childhoods and how childhood studies can contribute a broader understanding of sociology and our social worlds.
Prior to the RN04 symposium a public event will be held to showcase the findings of international research (CUIDAR) that has worked with children to develop a child-centred disaster management framework for Europe and sociological theoretical developments in understanding of cultures of resilience http://cuidarfinale.ics.ulisboa.pt. Participants in the RN04 symposium are welcome to join this event at any time and are encouraged to attend on the evening of May 22nd, when the keynote will be given by Professor Lori Peek of the University of Colorado www.colorado.edu/sociology/lori-peek - details of this event will follow in the New Year.
The two day symposium itself (24-25 May) will be dedicated to paper sessions.
There will be no conference fee for either event.
We therefore invite abstracts from experienced as well as young and precariously employed researchers concerned with the sociology of children and childhood and those from disciplines sensitive to the sociology of childhood. Although presentations and discussions will mainly revolve around theorizing childhood, participants are welcome to discuss theoretical implications of work on childhood for theorizing other streams of sociology.
Presentations can be related to the following areas:
1. Classical sociological theories and new directions in sociological theories of childhood
2. Theoretical concepts of temporality and spatiality in theorising the socio-economic and political contexts childhood
3. Theorisations of cultural processes and citizenship practices (concerned with, for example the arts, sports, sciences, education, food or other aspects of daily life) in current economic and political contexts
4. Theories of rights, inequalities and injustices in childhood
5. Theories of children’s participation in institutional and informal contexts and the role of cultural products and processes.
6. Theorisations around intersections of gender, ethnicity, disability, class, nationality and age applied to children
7. The role of theory in interdisciplinary work on childhood
The number of delegates will be restricted to 30 to enable discussion. The papers will be selected according to relevance to the areas of the symposium.
The symposium will be organised around short papers or provocations, with extensive space for open discussion, focused on different aspects of the relationship between
The venue is ICS-ULisboa (www.ics.ul), one of the Portugal’s leading Social Sciences research units. Located in the ULisboa Campus, ICS has108 qualified researchers, allocated to 7 Research Groups and hosts 9 PhD Programmes (most of them in consortia). ICS cutting-edge methodological approaches bridge a wide range of qualitative and quantitative social sciences methods and promote interdisciplinary cross-fertilization through innovative research design. With the support of this broad community of researchers, this research philosophy informs postgraduate teaching, advanced studies courses, young researchers training and outreach activities.