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Spatiality and The New Social Studies of Childhood



The past two decades have seen rapid changes in the ways in which sociologists think about children, and a growing cross-fertilisation of ideas between researchers in a variety of social science disciplines. This paper builds upon these developments by exploring what three inter-related ways of thinking about spatiality might contribute to the new social studies of childhood. Specifically, we identify the importance of progressive understandings of place in overcoming the split between global and local approaches to childhood; we discuss the ways in which children's identities are constituted in and through particular spaces; and we examine the ways in which our understandings of childhood can shape the meaning of spaces and places. These ideas are illustrated by reference to our current research on children's use of the internet as well as a range of wider studies.
Spatiality and the New Social Studies of Childhood
Sarah L. Holloway and Gill Valentine
Department of Geography Department of Geography
Loughborough University University of Sheffield
abstract The past two decades have seen rapid changes in the ways in which sociologists
think about children,and a growing cross-fertilisation of ideas between researchers in a
variety of social science disciplines. This paper builds upon these developments by
exploring what three inter-related ways of thinking about spatiality might contribute to the
new social studies of childhood. Specifically, we identify the importance of progressive
understandings of place in overcoming the split between global and local approaches to
childhood; we discuss the ways in which childrens identities are constituted in and through
particular spaces; and we examine the ways in which our understandings of childhood can
shape the meaning of spaces and places. These ideas are illustrated by reference to our
current research on children’s use of the internet as well as a range of wider studies.
keywords childhood, children, internet, place, space,spatiality
The past two decades have seen rapid changes in the ways in which socio-
logists think about children. In the mid to late 1980s a variety of authors began to
bemoan the lack of research on children. Ambert (1986), for example, identified a
near absence of children in North American sociological research, and argued that
this reflected the continuing influence of founding theorists whose preoccupations
were shaped by the patriarchal values of the societies in which they lived (and hence
paid little attention to children), and the nature of rewards within a discipline which
favours research on the big issues’such as class,bureaucracies or the political system.
Brannen and O’Brien (1995) point out that the position was little different in British
sociology, where children and childhood tended to be ignored, with children only
being studied indirectly in subdisciplinary areas such as the family or education. The
dominance of socialisation theory in these fields initially meant that children were
seen as human becomings rather than human beings, who through the process of
socialisation would be shaped into fully human adult beings (James, Jenks and Prout
1998). As in this view children were regarded as incompetent and incomplete, as
adults in the making rather than children in the state of being’ (Brannen and
O’Brien 1995:730), it was the forces of socialisation the family, the school which
received greater attention with ‘little or no time’ being given to children themselves
(James et al. 1998:25).
Sociology Vol. 34, No. 4,pp. 763–783.Printed in the United Kingdom © 2000 BSA Publications Limited
This relative absence of children from the sociological research agenda has
increasingly been challenged, not, as for many other minority groups by the group
themselves, but by researchers interested in children as competent beings in their
own right and in the ways in which childhood is socially constructed by adult society
in different ways in different times and places. Oakley (1994), drawing on Walby’s
evolutionary model of the development of academic knowledge about women,
argues that childhood studies is in its early phases where the relative absence of
children from the sociological agenda is noted, and traditional approaches critiqued.
Brannen and O’Brien (1995) observe that while the sociology of childhood may not
be coming of age, it is certainly an innovative growth area. Important in this respect
have been a number of texts each pushing forward this agenda in slightly different
ways. Stainton Rogers and Stainton Rogers (1992) provide an analysis of the social
construction of childhood, while James and Prout (1990) combine this with an
emphasis on children as diverse social subjects in their tentative identification of an
emergent paradigm in the sociology of childhood. These twin themes are evident
from a Scandinavian perspective (with its emphasis on the macro as well as the micro
in childhood studies) in Qvortrup et al. (1994), and from a largely UK perspective in
Brannen and O’Briens (1996) compilation of work on children in families and
Mayall’s (1994) broader collection on different aspects of childrens childhoods.
Moreover, a growing body of work within the sociology of education pays consider-
able attention to childrens agency in analyses of identity and difference in the school
setting (see for example Dixon 1997; Epstein 1997; Paechter 1998; Riddell 1989; Skeggs
The intensity of recent work means that James, Jenks and Prout (1998) now feel
able to set out a paradigm for the new social studies of childhood. The epistemo-
logical break which they claim for the new social studies of childhood (1998:207) is
the understanding of the child as ‘being’:
the child is conceived of as a person, a status,a course of action, a set of needs, rights or
differences in sum,as a social actor this new phenomenon,the being’child,can be
understood in its own right. It does not have to be approached from an assumed shortfall
of competence, reason or significance.
Their change in terminology from the sociology of childhood (James and Prout
1990) to the new social studies of childhood (James et al. 1998) – is important,
reflecting a growing cross-fertilisation of ideas between researchers in a variety of
social science disciplines. These linkages have contributed (amongst other things) to
a growing interest within geography in children as social actors (Holloway and
Valentine 2000a), and an emerging interest in sociology in the spatiality of child-
hood (Christensen et al. 2000; James et al.1998).
Borrowing from a typology of work on identities in feminist geography
proposed by Laurie et al. (1999), this paper builds upon the developments outlined
above by exploring what three inter-related ways of thinking about spatiality might
764 sarah l. holloway and gill valentine
add to the new social studies of childhood. Specifically, through the central body of
the paper we identify the importance of progressive understandings of place in
overcoming the split between global and local approaches to childhood; we discuss
the ways in which childrens identities are constituted in and through particular
spaces; and we examine the ways in which our understandings of childhood can
shape the meaning of spaces and places. In thus developing a more thoroughly
spatial understanding of socio-spatial processes surrounding childhood than have
been employed hitherto, we draw on our own research into childrens use of
information and communications technologies (ICT) as well as a range of wider
studies. In the final section of the paper we draw these three inter-related threads
together, and identify some ways forward for a truly interdisciplinary approach to
the new social studies of childhood.
Global/Local: A Progressive Sense of Place
James et al. (1998) provide a useful classification of work to date within the
new social studies of childhood that identifies a split between research which is
global in its focus and that which has more local concerns. In order to explore this
global/local split, we expand upon their classificatory framework here, and show
how they have linked this to a range of sociological dichotomies. In essence, they
argue that researchers in the new social studies of childhood have conceived of ‘the
child’ in four different ways, which can be split into two pairs. In the social structural
approach childhood is seen as a structural category, an enduring feature of the social
structure of all societies. Thus while there is recognition that the conditions of
childhood vary between times and places as the cultural, social and economic
characteristics of societies vary childhood itself is seen as a universal category. An
exemplar of this type of approach is the much cited volume edited by Qvortrup et al.
(1994). The minority group child, James et al. argue, ‘is an embodiment of the
empirical and politicized version of the “social structural child’’(p. 210). In this
approach childhood is politicised and identified as an axis of difference (similar to
gender, ‘race and so on) which confers advantage on some (adults) and dis-
advantages on others (children) (see, for example,Alanen 1992; Oakley 1994).
The first half of the second pairing is the socially constructed child. Social con-
structionists, James et al. (1998) argue, reject taken-for-granted assumptions about
childhood and the existence of social structures which shape an identifiable child-
hood form and ‘are more likely to be of the view that children are not formed by
natural and social forces but rather that they inhabit a world of meaning created by
themselves and through their interaction with adults’ (p. 28). Key works in this
approach are Jenks (1982), Stainton Rogers et al. (1989) and James and Prout (1990).
The tribal child, in a parallel move to that made above, is viewed as the empirical and
potentially politicised version of the socially constructed child. The metaphorically
Spatiality and the New Social Studies of Childhood 765
named tribal child approach conceives of childrens social worlds as real places with
real meanings, where childrens social action is structured through a system that is
unfamiliar to adults. These practices can be mapped through ethnography, as is well
demonstrated in the work of Iona and Peter Opie in the 1950s and 1960s (1969, 1977).
In laying out a theoretical field for these new social studies of childhood, James
et al. (1998) show how these four approaches have different relations to a number of
key sociological dichotomies (see Figure 1). In discussing this theoretical field they
state (1998:217):
the ‘socially constructed’child and the ‘tribal’ child often stand in a close relation, collude
or experience elision in the approaches adopted in childhood studies.And an identical
fluidity and potential for creativity exists between the ‘social structural’child and the
‘minority groupchild.Movements in the other direction are, however, relatively rare.
Thus the ‘social structural’child and the ‘socially constructed’child are locked in
different,and even antagonistic,formulations, as are the ‘minority groupchild and the
In other words, approaches to the study of childhood are linked vertically on the
diagram shown in Figure 1, in the process transcending the structure/agency,
identity/difference and voluntarism/determinism dichotomies. However, links are
rarely made right to left, and thus the dichotomies global/local, universal/particular
and continuity/change remain firmly intact.
766 sarah l. holloway and gill valentine
Tribal child Minority group child
Socially constructed child Social structural child
Figure 1
Theoretical field for the social study of childhood
Source: James et al.(1998:206)
The lack of cross-linkages which James et al. (1998) accurately identify is
problematic, leaving us with macro studies which can tell us a great deal about the
relative social position of different children in different countries, and micro studies
which help us understand childrens social worlds, but few studies which link the two
levels of analysis. Such a split is not inevitable, but stems from the particular
conceptualisation of global/local employed in these works, and consequently in
James et al.s discussion. Specifically, the global in these analyses tends to be conflated
with the universal and the local with particularity. For example, James et al. argue
that the social structural approach is at heart global because it assumes childhood to
be a universal phenomenon, and involves macro studies which allow comparative
statements to be made about the position of children in different nation-states. In
contrast, the socially constructed child is seen as ‘inevitably’ local, because though
socially structured, in either a strong or weak sense it is temporal, susceptible to
change and extremely particularistic. As a consequence, all macro studies are placed
in the global-universal side of the theoretical field, all micro studies on the local-
particular side and productive cross-linkages are rarely formed.
Understandings of global/local which draw on contemporary theorising about
spatiality in geography and the social sciences more generally can help overcome this
artificial analytical separation by placing the local and the global in context. In
conceptualisations of global/local which are informed by what Massey terms a
progressive sense of place (Massey 1994, 1996) global and local are not conceived of in
terms of universality and particularity but as shaped by a mutually constituting sets
of practices. On the one hand,global’ processes are shown to be both global and
local they operate in particular local areas, thus shaping that area, but also
themselves being remade in the process (Hall 1995; Katz 1994; Latour 1993; Smith
1993; Thrift 1995). On the other hand, understandings of local social relations as
locally produced systems of social interaction and symbolic meaning which are
rooted in place are also critiqued. As Massey (1998) argues, local cultures need to be
thought of as products of interaction interactions in which both local and global
influences matter and hence neither as closed and entirely local, nor undifferen-
tiatedly global. What such conceptualisations suggest is that global and local are not
irreconcilably split but are intimately bound together. Geographers interested
in children and youth have started to explore the implications of such non-
dichotomous conceptualisations of global/local for our understandings of young
people’s lives (Katz 1993, 1994; Massey 1998). Here, we illustrate the importance of
this approach with reference to our own work on childrens use of information and
computer technology (ICT), which involved a wide-ranging examination of the
ways in which ICT fits into childrens everyday lives, looking in particular at home
and school-based computer use by 11–16 year olds in one rural and two urban
locations in Britain in the late 1990s.
In one sense our research is very much concerned with the set of economic,
Spatiality and the New Social Studies of Childhood 767
cultural and political processes often referred to collectively as globalisation (Laurie
et al. 1999). The increasing interconnectivity of economies and societies has been
both stimulated by and further encouraged the rapid development of ICT, though
ability to take advantage of these developments is of course spatially uneven. In the
North the assumption that we are living in a wired world, or are entering an
information age, is commonplace (Bingham et al. 1999; Kitchin 1998a) as economic
flows and cultural products (e.g. satellite television and the world-wide web) are
becoming increasingly reliant on ICT. Critics have been quick to point out however,
that this wired world is not inclusive, as many countries of the South are less
integrated into these networks than their counterparts in the North (Kitchin 1998b).
Our research was designed to see how these global’ processes are shaping the lives
of children aged 11–16 in Britain. British politicians have responded positively to the
information revolution in the past decade or so, seeing it as a potential source of
high-skill, high-wage jobs for a national economy which has suffered considerably
from the loss of employment in its ‘traditional’ industries, and the partial replace-
ment of this with poorly paid, often part-time work in the service sector, and to a
lesser extent in assembly work for multi-national companies. Tony Blair, for
example, has declared that ‘Children cannot be effective in tomorrow’s world if they
are trained in yesterday’s skills’ (DfEE 1997: page not numbered) and numerous
policy initiatives including the introduction of IT into the National Curriculum
(Opie 1998) and the development of the National Grid for Learning have promoted
ICT use in schools. Provision of ICT in British schools is consequently good, with
more computers per head than the United States, Japan and Germany (McKinsey
and Co. 1997). However, our questionnaire survey of secondary schools reveals wide
variations in provision between local education authorities (LEA)s, and between
schools within them, which result from the importance of local initiatives in funding
ICT provision. Where such local initiatives are not successful, children have much
poorer access to ICT at school than the national averages suggest. The household-
based part of our research also highlights important variations in childrens access to
ICT. For example, 87 per cent of children with parents in professional or managerial
employment have access to a home computer, compared with 57 per cent of children
with parents in skilled non-manual work, and 35 per cent of children with parents in
skilled, semi-skilled or unskilled manual work. Such socio-economic differences are
important in a climate where parents and children, almost without exception, think
having access to a home-computer is an educational advantage (Holloway and
Valentine 2000b).
This element of our research into childrens use of ICT has much in common
with the social structural and minority group approaches to childhood outlined by
James et al. (1998), showing as it does how children as a social group are affected by
British responses to global processes, and how these responses affect different groups
of children in different ways. However, by itself such an approach has a limited ability
768 sarah l. holloway and gill valentine
to explain these processes, lacking as it does an analysis of how children themselves
actively experience information technology (IT) lessons, and the availability (or not)
of a home computer. Our work therefore also encompasses research which resonates
more clearly with the social constructionist and tribal child approaches, particularly
in our analysis of how children understand and respond to these ‘global’changes.
For example, our work in schools shows that children are not passive dupes
learning a set of skills deemed necessary by national government but are active in the
construction of their own lifeworlds, interpreting and making sense of ICT within
‘local’ cultures of computing. As we discuss in more detail elsewhere (see Holloway
et al. 2000) these computing cultures are often highly gendered. For example, some
boys in one of our case study classes messed around during IT lessons, surfing the net
for pictures of actresses, popstars and supermodels such as Jennifer Aniston, the
Spice Girls and Elle McPherson, in the process reinforcing their identities as ‘lads’ in
their own eyes and those of their peers. The way these boys make sense of and use
computers gaining social currency from their peers by searching for websites of
traditionally masculine interest – is partly shaped by their own ‘local’ cultures,
cultures which include academic underachievement (a problem amongst boys at this
school like many others) and an interest in talking about and sharing pictures of
women. Equally, however, to conceive of this computing culture in purely local
terms, as a social world created only by these children,would be inappropriate.As we
have argued above, childrens presence in IT lessons reflects the British government’s
response to global labour market changes. Moreover, the resources on which this
culture draws specifically pictures of actresses, popstars and supermodels are
not purely local, rooted only in one bounded place, but are part of a broader global
youth culture. Thus, childrens worlds of meaning are at one and the same time
global and local, made through ‘local’ cultures which are in part shaped by their
interconnections with the wider world.
What this very brief discussion of our research illustrates is that the social
structural/minority group and social constructionist/tribal child approaches can be
combined, and that in so doing our understanding of global’ processes is deepened
by an examination of childrens ‘local’ worlds, and our appreciation of childrens
‘local’ worlds is further nuanced through an analysis of the importance of ‘global’
influences. In this way our work shows that global and local approaches to the study
of childhood need not be locked into antagonistic formulations, but can if a non-
dichotomous understanding of global/local, informed by recent work on spatiality is
employed be productively linked. This linkage is important because the boun-
daries of the global/local dualism, like many others, are unstable, blurred through
everyday practice. When global and local are inevitably intertwined in practice,
approaches to the study of childhood which look at only one can miss much of
interest. Global studies which fail to take into account local outcomes and responses
to global processes, and local studies of childrens worlds of meaning which omit an
Spatiality and the New Social Studies of Childhood 769
analysis of global economic and cultural influences can provide only limited under-
standings of childrens lives. By employing a more thoroughly spatial understanding
of global/local which blurs the boundaries of the dualism we can incorporate both
into our analyses, thus producing more rounded studies of childhood which bridge
the gap which James et al.(1998) have shown is currently in evidence in the new social
studies of childhood.
Sites and Interconnections: Constituting and Reconstituting
A second, and very much related, way in which we may think about spatiality
and childhood is to focus on those everyday spaces in and through which childrens
identities and lives are made and remade.James et al. (1998) are one of the few groups
of sociologists/social anthropologists within the new social studies of childhood
who have tackled spatiality explicitly. They argue convincingly that ‘social space is
never a merely neutral location (p. 39), and set an agenda in which control in
childhood space is a central issue. Focusing on three sites the home, the school and
the city they explore ‘how each is dedicated to the control and regulation of the
child’s body and mind through regimes of discipline, learning, development,
maturation and skill’ (p. 38). In so doing, they make reference to the growing interest
in spatiality within social and cultural theory, and suggest that such a language and
politics of spatiality must also be incorporated into social theory for children. We
want to focus on two of the three sites they consider the school and the home in
order to draw out the strengths of their analysis, and build upon these to further
‘spatialiseour understandings of these settings.
The School
The principal means of control in the social space of the school, James et al.
(1998) argue, are the formal and informal curricula. These they conceive of as social
and political structures which contain normative assumptions about how children
should be. In terms of the formal curriculum, they emphasise the division of the day
into timetabled segments in which different skills should be learnt,and the placing of
children in classrooms to facilitate both this learning and a disciplined system of
control. Equally, they insist that the social worlds of childrens learning (Pollard and
Filer 1996) are also reflected in the informal curriculum, as girls soon learn that the
school is a gendered place, where their play is literally sidelined in the school yard
(James 1993). This twin interest in the control of, and reinscription of divisions
between, children is also evident in Aitkens (1994) work on institutional environ-
ments in childrens geographies. He considers spatial strategies of control in schools
and, drawing on the work of Rivlin and Wolfe (Rivlin and Wolfe 1985; Wolfe and
Rivlin 1987), concludes that:
770 sarah l. holloway and gill valentine
A major purpose of school control is to socialize children with regard to their roles in life
and their places in society. It serves the larger stratified society by inculcating compliant
citizens and productive workers who will be prepared to assume roles considered
appropriated to the pretension of their race, class and gender identities.
(Aitken 1994:90)
Schooling, in both these works, is seen as an institution through which children are
controlled, and a particularly important mechanism through which this is achieved
is spatial disciplining. As James et al. put it,‘the institution of schooling, through the
spatial discipline of its curricula, creates the space of and for childhood, attributing
the status of child’to those who fall subject to its regimes of control’(1998:46).
We have a sense then of how the spatial disciplining of the school is important in
the making of ‘the child’. Literature within the sociology of education, we think,
usefully adds to the understanding of spatiality being developed here. In exploring
the construction and contestation of fractured identities within a school setting a
body of literature in this field (see for example Epstein 1997; Paechter 1998; Riddell
1989; Skeggs 1991) discusses the role of different actors, in particular stressing the
differences between official school policy, teachers’ practices and pupil cultures, and
the different time and spaces within the school in which they dominate: for example,
the staffroom,the classroom before and after the teacher arrives, and the playground.
In effect these authors characterise the school as constituted through multiple
cultures and consisting of a series of (overlapping) time/spaces (Holloway et al.
2000). Some go further and explicitly theorise the spatiality of the school as both
embedded within wider socio-spatial relations, and as a site through which these are
reproduced (Dixon 1997; Shilling 1991). Dixons study (1997) of identity and sex-play
within design and technology lessons illustrates this well. On the one hand she shows
how the childrens behaviour in the classroom draws on wider social resources, with
their behaviour being ‘tangible at a macro social level, in that they resonate with
global and culturally specific historical forms of masculinity’ (p.89); on the other she
also stresses that the micro-spaces of the classroom are important because they are
overwritten in specific ways by regulative codes of gender, class and ‘race’ (p. 92).
The understanding of spatiality implicit in much of this work, but clearly articulated
in Dixon (1997) and Shilling (1991), interests us on two counts.
Firstly, the emphasis in Dixon (1997) and Shilling’s (1991) work on the way in
which pupils and staff draw on wider range of resources can be used to build upon
James et al.s (1998) insistence on schools as agents of control. Specifically, both
Dixon and Shilling show how in reproducing certain forms of masculinity or
femininity within the classroom, teachers and pupils draw on wider reservoirs of
resources about appropriate expressions of gender identities. These reservoirs of
resources are central to pupils’ performance of masculinity and femininity, and
shared knowledge of these make the performances intelligible to others in the
classroom. This can be seen in one of our case study schools, Station Road, where
Spatiality and the New Social Studies of Childhood 771
widely understood ideas about computer nerds as socially inadequate, rather
unmasculine men informed social attitudes within the school leading to the
marginalisation of those boys who had an interest in computing. For example, the set
of lads’quoted below disliked the ‘techy boys in their class partly because these boys
liked all aspects of computers (not simply using them as games machines), an
interest the lads do not see as masculine, and therefore as deserving of insults which
imply effeminacy and, consequently, homosexuality. Thus an apparently innocuous
question about which boys were best at using computers in their class, produced the
following answer:
darren: Giles Chester’s a bit of a girl
sam: He’s, he’s he’s a girl
interviewer: Bit of a girl?
matt: Yeah, he’s a right weirdo [edit.]
darren: He’s like, he acts like a girl in class he’s
sam: He’s a ponce
interviewer:A ponce?
sam: Yeah,yeah, he is.Hes,he is like a lass,he just It’s like we, we do our work quick
and that, and like boys play football and that. He thinks that he’s good at football,
can’t play football, thinks that he,thinks that he can play cricket, can’t play cricket,
can’t play rugby
darren: Yeah,he’s best at trampolining,like girls’sports
The link these lads made from computer nerd,to girl, to ponce is not original: Mac an
Ghaill (1994, 1996) points out that involvement in sport is often read as a cultural
index of what it means to be a real boy’, and lack of participation in such activities
and their associated lad culture is to be a bit of a ‘poof. Thus the lads at Station Road
are drawing on wider ideas about gender and sexuality in their derision of the techy
boys. What we get from this is a sense of the porosity of the school – it is not a
bounded site, rather it is constructed and reconstructed through its inter-
connectivity with wider society. It is through these interconnections that these
institutional spaces become sites of control.
Secondly, we find that the emphasis (in this particular body of work within the
sociology of education) on multiple cultures and overlapping time/spaces usefully
emphasises childrens agency, their power to both resist and ally themselves with
adults, as well as the ways in which they are controlled by them. This emphasis on
resistance and strategic alliances as well as control was something which emerged in
our own work on childrens use of ICT. We found considerable evidence of spatial
disciplining within schools, and this certainly shaped childrens use of ICT in our
case study schools. The childrens presence in IT lessons reflected the spatial
disciplining of the timetable, which requires pupils to be in the right place, at the
right time, to learn the right things. Equally, the exclusion of children in some
772 sarah l. holloway and gill valentine
schools from IT laboratories at break and lunch-times reflects the redesignation of
these spaces at these times as out of bounds. However, we also found ways in which
children were active in the creation of their own spaces of computing. Two brief
examples of how girls have contested the ‘regulative codes of gender’ (to use Dixons
terminology) and created single-sex spaces for computing illustrate our point.
Pupils in all three of our case study schools could choose who they wanted to sit
next to in IT lessons and gender-segregated arrangements were the norm. One group
of girls explain below why they prefer these arrangements:
suzy: I think you more, you experiment more with friends. ’Cos I mean like if I do
something really dodgy,Cloë won’t laugh at me and go [laughs] ‘you can’t do it
helen: They [the lads] reckon like I’ve sort of got a reputation for being good at, you
know, like
Oh you’re so good at workand everything. If you’re working with a lad
and they reckon you to be that and you’re not
suzy: They’ll sit there and go ‘Blouse’
helen: Right,and then you’ll be like really conscious about yourself, and you won’t want
to experiment with things you can’t do.
In a context where the girls are subject to low-level sexual harassment, girls sit next to
each other to create a space for themselves within the classroom where they make
mistakes without being shown up in front of the lads. In another school, a group of
girls described the way in which boys hogged all the terminals in the computer club,
meaning there was never room for them.Again these girls had made their own space,
not by challenging this culture fundamentally, but by forming a strategic alliance
with a teacher who secured the use of a different computer room for a girl-only
computer-club and advertised this for them through the school assembly. In both
these cases the boys were dominating space, but the girls (in one case with the help of
teachers) nevertheless managed to create a space of their own within which different
rules applied. This sense of childrens resourcefulness and the alliance which can be
built across the adult–child divide, which comes through very clearly in other studies
in the new social studies of childhood (see James 1993),is in danger of being lost if we
overemphasise spatial disciplining as a mechanism of control when theorising the
spatiality of the school. Recognition of the multiple spaces within the classroom
points to the importance of childrens agency, even in contexts where they have little
formal power. This is particularly pertinent as all cultures are reproduced through
everyday practice, and this means they are not forever fixed, solidified in place, but
open to change.
Taken together these two points build on James et al.s (1998) insistence that
control in childhood space should be a central issue for the new social studies of
childhood. On the one hand thinking through the interconnecting geographies
Spatiality and the New Social Studies of Childhood 773
which shape the social space of the school emphasises the importance of wider sets of
ideas embedded within British society which act as reservoirs of resources both
informing, and rendering intelligible, staff and pupil behaviour within the school.
On the other, thinking through the multiple geographies within the school where
different cultures dominate in different times and space reminds us that children are
not only subject to control by adults within the school, they also resist this control
and form strategic alliances with adults to resist domination by other children. This
emphasis on the porosity of the school and on childrens agency and alliance with
adults is something which could usefully be considered in other research in the new
social studies of childhood.
The Home
In their discussion of the home James et al. (1998) point to the increasing
domestication of childhood over the course of the past two centuries. This
domestication of children parallels changing ideas about femininity in Britain in the
nineteenth and early twentieth century, when a womans place was increasingly seen
to be in the home (Davidoff and Hall 1987; Light 1991). In the middle years of this
century the trend was reinforced by the newly emerged childrearing experts, who
increasingly warned of the perils to childrens mental health if they were separated
from their mothers for too long (Bowlby 1951, 1953). However, as James et al. make
clear, home space is not necessarily a haven for children, being the site of most sexual
abuse, and a space which is constituted through relations of power and control. In
examining these relations, James et al. cite the work of geographer David Sibley
(1995), whose psychoanalytic take on the home is one of the few pieces in the new
social studies of childhood which attempts to open up the ‘black box’of the home.
The lack of work on childrens lives within the home, which James et al. (1998)
point out is symptomatic of the privatisation of childhood within the domestic
sphere, is beginning to be challenged within geography, where feminist concern with
power within households is being combined with an interest in children, in studies
which examine parenting cultures. Holloway (1998a, 1998b) shows how childcare
decisions in households with pre-school aged children are shaped by factors both
within and outside the control of individual household members, and in particular
emphasises the importance of locally constituted ideas about good mothering. The
importance of local cultures of parenting is developed further in Valentine’s work on
households with older children, which shows how decisions about restrictions on
children are negotiated within households (between adults, and between adults and
children) but often draw strongly on local norms and practices (1997a, 1997b). These
studies suggest that we need to combine a more active interest in intra-household
relations, with a broader conceptualisation of the home which takes into account the
importance of the locality in which they are situated.
The importance of intra-household relations can be seen in our work on
774 sarah l. holloway and gill valentine
childrens use of ICT in which we focused on home-based as well as school-based
usage. One of our interests prior to the research was in the way parents controlled
their childrens use of the internet in a climate where fears had been raised about
childrens safety in cyberspace. What emerged from our interviews with parents
and children were complicated patterns of control and freedom from restraint
(Valentine and Holloway 2000). Many of the parents we interviewed were concerned
about the monetary costs of internet use (in Britain you pay for the cost of a local
phone call as well as any fee to your Internet Service Provider (ISP)) and utilised a
range of controls to ensure that these were not excessive. These strategies included
controlling the time for which children could use the internet, and less often making
children pay for the calls from their own resources. One mother, for example,
charged her son for a particularly large phone bill in order to teach him to monitor
his spending more effectively:
ms newton: hes paid it all back he baby-sits and he sorts people’s computers out so
he, he does,gets bits here and there.And he’s given me his birthday money and he
gave me his Christmas money. So I mean,I’ll give him his due,he, he’s learned his
lesson and now he is much better at monitoring.
However, adult control was not the only feature of home-based internet use. In
some households children had a much greater level of technical competence than
their parents and were allowed to organise which ISP families would use, with
parental involvement being limited to the supply of the credit card number to which
any bill would be charged. In other households parents did not attempt to control
their childrens use of the internet, either through technological controls or by
deliberately locating the computer in a family room, in order to confine them to sites
appropriate to children. Instead, they trusted their children, arguing that they were
mature enough not to want to do anything unsuitable or were mature enough to
cope if they came across material such as pornography.
A second point to emerge from our work with these households was that the
home is not a bounded space shaped only by members of the family resident there,
but is, like the school, a porous space shaped also by its interconnections with the
immediate locality and with the wider world.The connections we want to emphasise
here are those negotiated through childrens social networks (though the arguments
made earlier about the ways in which the school is shaped through webs of wider
connections which inform socio-spatial practices in particular sites are equally
relevant to the home). One example of these social networks are the computing
cultures of which some of the boys we interviewed were a part. The meaning of
computer use in the home for this group was not simply shaped by negotiations with
other household members, but also with other boys. These boys developed and
extended their friendships in their local area through a shared interest in computing.
Spatiality and the New Social Studies of Childhood 775
They would physically visit each other’s homes in order to play with computers,
often using games but also more generally working on web pages and surfing the net.
Some also play games against each other on-line, remaining in their own homes but
competing against locally-based friends in a virtual environment.Moreover, in using
the internet to communicate with others, for example through Internet Relay Chat
(IRC) they broaden their links with others beyond their own home and locality.
These two brief examples demonstrate that intra-household relations, as James
et al. (1998) argue, are indeed very important issues for the new social studies of
childhood. What our examples suggest is that, firstly, the new social studies of
childhood need to examine both the control parents exert over the home, and the
space provided for and made by childrens agency. Moreover, as our second example
makes clear, we need to think about these homes not simply as isolated units, but as
sites of control which are made through their interconnections with the local area
and the wider world. These connections take various forms, including the state
intervention identified by James et al., but also incorporate childrens own social
networks. Our point then is that research in the new social studies of childhood
might benefit from the conceptualisation of the home, like the school, not as a
bounded space but as a porous one where childrens agency needs to be considered
alongside that of adults. Finally, we want to add that in considering the spatiality of
the home, the new social studies of childhood also need to consider the geographies
of young people without secure access to home space, as Ruddick’s (1996) excellent
study of homelessness in Hollywood reminds us.
Discursive Constructions: Stories about Childhood and the
Meaning of Space
The final way in which we want to think about spatiality is distinctly different
(though again related) to the previous two approaches. Specifically, rather than
consider how ‘geographies’ are important in shaping childhood, we want to think
about the ways in which our understandings of childhood shape the meanings of
particular spaces. Our argument is that childhood, as a discursive construction, is
imbued with a spatial ideology which shapes our understanding of different
environments, such as the home and the street, and that this has a range of important
consequences. Unlike the previous two sections, we do not begin with a review of
sociologists’ work on this issue to date.Although a number of researchers in the new
social studies of childhood have enthusiastically embraced the ‘spatial turn, this is
one particular take on spatiality which has yet to be explored. We begin, therefore, by
looking at geographical work in this field.
Childhood, as we discussed in the previous section, has been increasingly
domesticated (in the North at least) over the course of the last two centuries. In part,
this process reflects the importance of ideas about childrens essential nature most
776 sarah l. holloway and gill valentine
notably that their proper social and emotional development is dependent upon close
contact with their mother in shaping the notion that young childrens place is in
the home. The enduring impact of these much disputed ideas about childrens needs
is seen in resistance to the idea of ‘working mothers’ and, as a range of recent studies
have pointed out, in the arrangements some parents make for their children whilst
they go out to work, for example using childminders and nannies as care providers
specifically because they reproduce home-type environments for their children
(Gregson and Lowe 1995; Holloway 1999). Nevertheless, as cultural constructions
these ideas about children and home are not forever fixed but open to change.
Holloway (1998b; see also Laurie et al. 1999), for example, has shown how the
growing emphasis on the importance of educating pre-school aged children is
leading some middle-class mothers to challenge the assumption that home is best
and instead place greater value on the stimulation collective-care environments can
provide. In this way changing ideas about childhood, in this case that children need a
pre-school education, can change the meaning of the home and collective childcare
spaces, such that childrens place is no longer seen to always be in the home.
The way in which our understandings of childhood shape the meaning, and
therefore the use of, particular spaces is also clear when we focus on school-aged
children.Valentine shows (1996a, 1996b) how contradictory ideas about children as
either angels or devils (see Jenks 1996) have produced different concerns about
childrens use of public space in the North. On the one hand, the understanding of
children as angels, as innocents who are less competent than adults, has led to
concerns about childrens safety in public space (Valentine 1996b). The fears being
raised are about the possibility of stranger-danger, most notably abduction at the
hand of paedophiles, but also about road traffic accidents. This is leading parents to
control and limit their little angels’ independent use of public space, encouraging
them into more home-based activities or formally-organised events outside the
home (Valentine 1997a, 1997b). On the other hand, the understanding of children as
devils’, as inherently naughty, unruly, unsocialised beings, is leading to concerns
about the violence and unruliness of (other people’s) children in public places.
Adults fear for their own and their childrens safety, and that of their cars and homes
as young people are seen to be running amuck in adult public space. The response
has been to argue that these little devils should be excluded from public space, for
example by curfews, and that their parents should be made to control them properly,
ensuring they return home at a reasonable hour. Though these contradictory
understandings of children as either angels or devils stem from different historical
roots, both ‘stories’ reproduce the same spatial ideology that childrens place is in the
home, and in straying outside this they either place themselves at risk in adult
controlled space, or their unruly behaviour risks the hegemony of this adult control
of space. These stories about the risks to and from children are important because
responses to them reinforce adults control of public space.
Spatiality and the New Social Studies of Childhood 777
Such research about the care of pre-school aged children, and work on older
childrens use of public space suggests that the new social studies of childhood might
fruitfully explore the ways in which different constructions of childhood shape the
meanings and use of everyday spaces such as the home and the street. Our current
research on childrens use of ICT, and in particular the internet, furthers this agenda
by illustrating how ideas about childhood are shaping the meaning, and con-
sequently the use, of cyberspace. One example of this is the way in which powerful
ideas about children as little angels are again being mobilised, as children are
constructed by some as innocents whose technological competencies may put them
at risk in adult-controlled cyberspace. There is concern for example, that children
may be unwittingly faced with unsuitable material on the Web, particularly
pornography, or that they may be targeted by paedophiles through the internet
(Wilkinson 1995). Thus the discursive construction of children as innocent is
informing an understanding of cyberspace as an inherently risky space for children,a
space where they are in need of protection. Dan Glaister (1997:10) accurately
caricatured this fear in the Guardian:
beware,the bogeyman’s about. Tuck up your child safely at night, lock the doors and
don’t forget to turn off the terminal.For bogeyman has morphed into Pixelman,a spectre
for our times.Pixelman lurks within the computer inside every dream home, waiting
until the parental back is turned to reach out and corrupt the innocent youth The new
bogeyman roams free on the latest frontier,the Internet
It is clear from our own work that this fear is something on which some schools feel
obliged to act, for example instituting policies preventing children giving informa-
tion on their webpages which would enable unsuitable adults to contact them (see
Valentine and Holloway 2000,for other constructions of childhood and cyberspace).
In summary, what these examples from our past and current research illustrate is
the importance of discursive constructions of childhood in shaping the meaning of
particular spaces, and thus the socio-spatial practices surrounding the use of those
spaces. The power of these ideas about childhood spaces, and spaces in which
children are seen to be out of place, means they are worthy of further consideration
by researchers in the new social studies of childhood. These discursive constructions
are not simply of academic interest (though tracing the changing cultural associ-
ations between children and different types of spaces is an worthy project in itself),
they also have material consequences, shaping as they do practices and policies
towards children in different contexts.
This paper builds on an emerging pattern of multi- and interdisciplinary
work by identifying what three inter-related ways of thinking about spatiality might
778 sarah l. holloway and gill valentine
contribute to the new social studies of childhood. Firstly, we have argued that
working with a progressive sense of place, in which global and local are understood
to be embedded within one another rather than as dichotomous categories, could
result in productive cross-linkages between currently separated ‘global’ and ‘local’
studies, and thus produce more fully contextualised studies of childhood. Secondly,
we have built upon existing interests in the ways in which childrens identities and
lives are made and (re)made through the sites of everyday life. In particular, we argue
that schools and homes need to be thought of not as bounded spaces, but as porous
ones produced through their webs of connections with wider societies which inform
socio-spatial practices within those spaces. Moreover, we have suggested that in
highlighting the spatial disciplining of the school and the control of parents in the
home, childrens agency, both in terms of their ability to resist adult control and their
potential to make strategic alliances with adults to avoid domination by other
children, should be given further attention by researchers in the new social studies of
childhood. Finally, we have demonstrated how ideas about childhood inform our
understanding of particular spaces, showing for example how the idea that childrens
place is in the home and that they are either at risk, or need to be considered risky,
within public space is dependent upon ideas of children as angels (innocent and
lacking competence) or, less often, as devils (unsocialised beings whose activities
need to be controlled). These spatial discourses are important as they inform socio-
spatial practices in these sites, socio-spatial practices which then reinforce, or
occasionally challenge, our understandings of childhood. The material and ideo-
logical consequences of this dialectical relation between our spatialised ideas of
childhood and the socio-spatial practices surrounding childhood warrant further
academic attention.
In using the example of childrens use of ICT as exemplars of all three of these
processes we have not only sought to show how they are currently affecting some
children in the North, but more importantly to illustrate how these three processes
are closely intertwined. We do not want to suggest that there are three distinct and
different ways in which we might think about the spatiality of childhood; rather, we
are suggesting that all three of these takes on spatiality are part of inter-related
processes. The ICT use amongst the children we studied was at once shaped by
global/local processes, experienced within particular sites, which were themselves
shaped by our understanding of childhood. As Massey (1998:124–5) argues: ‘the
social relations which constitute space are not organised into scales so much as into
constellations of temporary coherences set within a social space which is the
product of relations and interconnections from the very local to the inter-
continental’. The processes shaping (and being reshaped by) childrens use of ICT
were simultaneously global and local, material and ideological. It is these inter-
connections which we think could be fruitfully explored in an interdisciplinary
approach to the new social studies of childhood which takes spatiality seriously.
Spatiality and the New Social Studies of Childhood 779
The research reported in this paper was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council
(award number L129 25 1055) as part of the ‘Children 5–16’programme. Our thanks go to Nick
Bingham who was the research associate on this project; to Claire Dwyer, Nina Laurie and
Fiona Smith for many productive discussions; and to three anonymous referees for their
comments on the first draft of this paper.An earlier version of this paper was presented at the
1998 ‘Geographies of Young Peopleworkshop at San Diego State University, which was
supported by the National Science Foundation (award number 97–32469).
1. Our research began with a questionnaire survey of all secondary schools in two local
authorities which identified considerable variations in childrens access to ICT at school. In
this paper we draw in particular on work undertaken in three schools with relatively high
levels of ICT provision (one urban school serving a middle-class catchment, another urban
school with a working-class catchment and a rural school with a socio-economically mixed
intake), and sets of case-study households who had children attending those schools. In
these schools we first undertook a questionnaire survey of 753 pupils, asking them about
their use of computers in general in a variety of school and home settings. This survey was
followed up with a series of focus-group discussions which were mainly organised around
existing friendship groups (thirty in total). Interviews with the headteachers and relevant
IT teachers were also undertaken. Following this work in schools ten households from each
school were approached and asked to take part in our home-based research. The
households were chosen to reflect a diversity of backgrounds, including those who own an
internet-connected personal computer (PC), those with a PC but no internet connection,
and those without a home computer. Separate interviews were undertaken with parents
and children in each of these households exploring their attitudes to and use of computers
in general and the internet in particular. The names of the schools and interviewees have
been changed to protect their anonymity.
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Biographical note: SARAH HOLLOWAY is a lecturer in human geography at Loughborough
University where she teaches Social and Feminist Geography, and Qualitative Methods. She is
co-author of Geographies of New Femininities (1999, Longman) and co-editor of Children’s
Geographies (2000, Routledge). GILL VALENTINE is Professor of Geography at Sheffield
University, where she teaches Approaches to Human Geography, Social Geography and
Qualitative Methods. She is co-author of Consuming Geographies (1997,Routledge) and co-
editor of Mapping Desire (1995, Routledge), Cool Places (1998, Routledge) and Childrens
Geographies (2000, Routledge).
Addresses: Dr Sarah L. Holloway, Department of Geography, Loughborough University,
Loughborough, Leics,LE11 3TU; Prof. Gill Valentine, Department of Geography, University of
Sheffield, Sheffield,S10 2TN.
Spatiality and the New Social Studies of Childhood 783
... Much sociological research on children and place is built on the argument that places are socially constructed (see, e.g., Holloway and Valentine, 2000;James et al., 1998). This brings attention to issues of power and agency and illustrates the duality of place as referring to both social positions and physical locations . ...
... This has led to an increasing institutionalisation of childhood because children spend much of their everyday lives in settings created for them by adults (Näsman, 1994). Therefore, several studies within the sociology of childhood have investigated children's experiences of such places (see, e.g., Christensen and O'Brien, 2003;Holloway and Valentine, 2000;Rasmussen, 2004). ...
... Researchers seeking to understand childhood in relation to space move along two lines that occasionally cross (Gutman & Clark, 2019;Holloway & Valentine, 2000;Holloway et al., 2018). Some explore children as social actors in their own right, who interpret, imagine and use spaces, make and shape space for themselves, and reinvent settings adults made for them. ...
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Children affected by cancer often require repeated hospitalisations. The impact of the material hospital environment on children's well-being receives growing attention across various disciplines. Yet, because of their ‘double vulnerability’ – being children and being ill – young people affected by cancer are less considered as direct research participants. We set out to put the experiences of these children at the centre of attention. To do justice to the complexity of their interactions with the material hospital environment, we brought together concepts and insights from childhood studies; scholarship in anthropology and philosophy; theories on materiality; and design research; and combined these with fieldwork in a children’s oncology ward and day-care ward. By interweaving different lines of inquiry, we exemplify how fusing theoretical and empirical work in a transdisciplinary way allows advancing both social sciences and design research and invites to adopt a nuanced way a seeing.
... Scientific production has put forward the fact that studies on insecurity have for a long time neglected to consider the impact of gender and class on the experience of urban life, which in turn has challenged the previous ways in which insecurity is observed and analyzed (Baron, 2011;Ceccato & Nalla, 2020;Donder et al., 2009;S. L. Holloway & Valentine, 2000;Koskela & Pain, 2000;. Discussing how insecurity is perceived, Trickett (2011) argues that victimization is not a static image but a process influenced by gender, as men and women receive different messages about victimization and risk thorough socialization. What is a very real threat or risk for female city dwellers may be invisible fo ...
Feelings of insecurity on an urban context are particularly significant due to presence of terrorist attacks, crime, and violence around the world. Urban violence in Latin America has increased exponentially since the 1990s and has given way to research on how to better understand it and combat it. Solutions at city level become more relevant, as urban violence in the region is not an abstract political subject, but rather a problem that deeply touches and transforms everyday life. Such is the case of the city of Monterrey, Mexico. The war against drugs that began in Mexico in 2006 triggered several violent events in territories disputed by drug cartels. Direct aggression ranging from robberies to homicide turned into matters of everyday life, touching the vulnerable sectors of the regio society first and most. While the common narrative is that the city changed overnight, structural violence such as socio-spatial inequalities had gone unattended for decades, and they were the fertile ground for more direct forms of violence. It was not until this violence touched spaces other than marginalized neighborhoods that it became a crisis. By 2013, some dramatic levels of violence receded and mutated, while other forms of violence have emerged with different actors and levels of intensity. Meanwhile, city dwellers relied on individualistic solutions in the face of ineffective public action. In this context, public space has also been the object of dispute, the scenario of confrontation, the point of observation and analysis, and the laboratory of potential solutions. Public spaces were at first avoided and then transformed through strategies for fortification or aperture. However, in a highly unequal society, not everyone has the same power to make their voices heard, nor to distance themselves from public space or transform it. These spatial solutions, while appealing, have a limited scope and at times may even foster inequality. This unequal capacity to influence public policy and to access secure public spaces, along with the lack of effective public action for all social groups, lead to an over-reliance on individual practices and to the normalization of violence, especially in the more vulnerable sectors. In such an environment, feelings of insecurity and the daily life have often been overlooked since there are larger and "more real" issues at hand that require attention. Nevertheless, these apparently banal elements have an impact. This leads to the core research question of this project: What is the link between feelings of insecurity, public spaces, and daily practices in a context of chronic violence? At the crossroads of geography, urbanism and sociology, this thesis presents a multi-level analysis of feelings of insecurity, public spaces, and daily practices in a context of chronic violence. This research observes how the extraordinary and ordinary incidents become part of normal life in Monterrey, what material and immaterial strategies are put into place, and how socio-spatial inequality plays a role in them.
An increasing number of parents and scholars have begun expecting schools and the government to share the responsibility of reducing the potential negative effects of SNS use among adolescents. This study examines how the public understands the risks that adolescents face, as well as the causes and solutions, and how news media influence not only the public’s risk perceptions but also their policy preference for public interventions. Drawing on framing and attribution theories, this study used two datasets. First, the content analysis data explore Taiwanese news media’s coverage of youths’ online behaviors and how the media has framed the question “Who is responsible for adolescents’ risky and opportunity behaviors?” Second, the public opinion survey data addresses the influence of news consumption on the public perception of the risks facing adolescent Facebook users, the public’s attribution of related responsibilities to various stakeholders, and the public’s evaluation of parental mediation and government regulations.
This article considers a style of civility discourse centered on perceived “rudeness” of youth, particularly youth of color (YOC) and its use as a political strategy that positions YOC as both uncivil and lacking agency. It is constructed as a racialized concept of rudeness that positions YOC as unreliable narrators and problem students whose voices can be dismissed when it comes to educational policy that directly impacts them. I refer to this discourse as “rudeness rhetoric.” It takes on a key role in the (re)production of the school as a political site of white supremacist citizen production. I focus on Arizona politicians’ mobilization of rudeness rhetoric as justification for legislation targeting Tucson Unified School District’s (TUSD) Mexican American Studies (MAS) program for termination. I rely on triangulation of multiple sources and methods, including observation of meetings and the trial concerning the constitutionality of anti-MAS legislation, plaintiff evidence, documents and public statements by politicians, and online commentary concerning MAS. I find that, while politicians and the Arizona Department of Education engaged accusations that MAS promoted anti-white racism, they used rudeness rhetoric to frame the program as harmful, charging that it produced rude students based on protests politicians associated with MAS. Focusing on “rude” YOC allowed politicians to reframe legislative attacks on ethnic studies and move debate over MAS away from racial animus in the legislation. Rather than one explosive moment in which the rudeness rhetoric performed its political work, it snaked throughout multiple venues from political arenas to the courtroom to the media.
Building on the growing discursive approach to people–place relations, we examine how young people negotiate people–place tensions and relations, and how they establish their everyday sense of place in contemporary public spaces. Facilitated by the use of Collaborative Spatial Mapping, analysis of focus group data from 51 young people focuses on three aspects of participants’ talk about the places that make up their everyday lives: appropriation of micro‐geographical spaces, the construction of autobiographical insideness and the mobilization of shared socio‐spatial histories. Our analysis illustrates young people's responses to a broader problematic of being ‘troublesome’ in public spaces, demonstrating how they construct a deep‐rooted attachment to, and sense of themselves as located members within, such spaces. We argue that place appropriation and autobiographical insideness are important concepts for understanding the practice of citizenship by young people, and how such practice is embedded in wider political processes of spatial conflict and exclusion.
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文章通过梳理在WOS (Web Of Science) 核心数据集、谷歌学术、中国知网(CNKI) 等平台筛选出的较高引用率、方法比较规范、与留守儿童主题相关性强的国内外文献 159 篇,从理论层面总结了儿童地理学研究的新转向:关注儿童与空间的关系,强调儿童在空间使用中的主体性,重视不同情境下儿童地理体验的差异性。并梳理了跨国迁移背景下留守儿童的 3个研究主题:从空间视角探讨留守儿童的日常生活实践;从主体性出发探讨儿童在迁移链中的体验;在童年的差异性基础上讨论本土儿童的问题。同时从问题视角和积极视角分析了国内城乡迁移背景下留守儿童的研究主题,指出因现有研究范式中的经验主义和成人中心主义而存在的局限性。尝试勾勒出符合中国情境的留守儿童研究新范式,提出留守儿童的日常生活空间,留守儿童的能动性、异质性和多样性是国内留守儿童研究亟需关注的内容。呼吁学者采用历时和动态的研究设计,充分展现儿童如何理解、体验和应对复杂的流动背景下的日常生活。
This book is neither literary criticism nor cultural studies; literary historynor feminist theory. More devoutly theoreticist readers will search in vain for the exemplification of a particular theory or paradigm; the chapters hover uneasily but, I hope, productively between different modes of analysis; they move unashamedly between the techniques of an older style of literary criticism, with its attention to language and to readerly response, and a critical practice which believes that not only must we look beyond the words on the page for their fuller meaning, but that being different readers, inconstant creatures of time and place, we can never finalise our understanding. If the driving energy behind this project is primarily literary - I am interested in writing and in the forms it takes - it is at the same time fuelled by an historicising passion which wants to see how, and imagine why, such forms, like all that human beings do and make, continue to change.
This chapter explores the diversity of females' spatial experience, addressing some of the enduring consequences of women's restricted access to and control of the environment. It examines the relationship between girls' socialization and spatial range in two discrete sociocultural settings, both to draw comparisons between the two and to scrutinize the lasting effects of girls' limited spatial experience compared to boys'. In both the US and Sudan the limits set on girls' movements and their internalization of fear for their safety results in a diminution of their autonomous movement in many of the sociophysical settings of their lives. The negative repercussions of this deprivation over the life course accrue to the women themselves, as well as to the society as a whole. Much of the work is focused on rural Sudan where it it noted that, somewhat counter-intuitively, girls have greater freedom to roam their environment than they do in most places in the US. -from Author
This volume discusses the living conditions of children in industrial society, and presents new theories and interpretations regarding the position of childhood in modern society, in relation to family, economy, politics, time and space, intergenerational relations and demographic developments.