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Special Interest Group

Children and Childhoods

The aim of Children and Childhoods SIG is to explicate, develop, and enhance understandings of children and young people and their childhoods. This includes: how childhoods are shaped socially, historically and culturally, and how the ‘relational child’ experiences the educational institutions and forces that mediate their life. It concerns children as objects and / or subjects for study, and the spaces and places in which childhood occurs, particularly formal and informal education. A strength of the SIG is that it enables interrogation of the boundaries and transitions in children’s lives, including from early years to childhood, childhood to adolescence, adolescence and beyond, and how these are shaped and informed by education.

The SIG will create a forum for academics, practitioners, and students to engage critically in debates of the contested nature of childhood; for example, as a socio-biological construction, a hybrid of interdisciplinary subjectivities, or from the standpoint of the agentic, relational child. Importantly the SIG will bring together colleagues with wide-ranging interests to contribute to knowledge development and exchange, not least around the burgeoning research into the nature and meanings of children’s well-being and resilience. At the same time the SIG will seek to establish dialogue with and between other BERA SIGs, including Early Childhood Education and Care, Youth Studies and Informal Education, Social Justice, and Sexualities, in order to draw together and share the respective assemblages of knowledge and understanding within BERA about the complexity and diversity of children’s lives.

This is a timely opportunity to establish a Children and Childhoods SIG. Childhood studies has emerged as a critical intervention in the field of education and developed interdisciplinary knowledge about children and young people’s everyday and everynight experiences. The aims of the SIG are, therefore, to:

  • Explore critically the concepts and methodologies utilized to situate and explicate childhoods and children’s experiences within the contexts of formal and informal education;
  • Interrogate changes and continuities in understandings of childhood and their impact upon the spaces, places, relations and practices of education;
  • Enable interdisciplinary discussion of new and complementary theoretical insights from other SIGs;
  • Explore the epistemological issues arising in childhood research, including interrogating questions of power, ethics and participation.
  • Raise the profile of childhood studies within BERA by hosting seminars, encouraging publication, and supporting collaborations between established and early careers researchers.


SIG Convenors

Chrysoula Mangafa, Dr

Lecturer at The Open University

Dr Chrissy Mangafa, Lecturer at Anglia Ruskin University Dr Chrissy Mangafa is a Lecturer in Education at Anglia Ruskin University. She teaches across a range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses, with a focus on Primary. She received her...

Rita Chawla-Duggan, Dr

University Lecturer at University of Bath

I am a member of the Learning, Pedagogy and Diversity Research Cluster. Originally trained as a teacher, I taught in pre-prep, primary and middle schools. After studying ‘The Ethnography of Educational Settings’ as part of my Masters degree,...

Content associated with this SIG

Spring 2021

Research Intelligence issue 146: Contemporary issues in mental health and wellbeing in education

Research Intelligence10 Mar 2021