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.


Latest SIG Content

LGBT+ inclusion in schools

8 March 2018 | Blog

In this blog I summarise key evidence from Stonewall’s latest School Report (Bradlow et al, 2017), a study of over 3,700 lesbian, gay, bi and trans (LGBT) young people across Britain aged 11–19. In addition, I suggest possible approaches for... [...]

A four-point plan for improving education against extremism

19 February 2018 | Blog

The UK’s counter-extremism Prevent strategy has come under fire consistently since its inception more than 10 years go. Studies have found it divisive, rendering Islamic communities and ethnic minorities more generally vulnerable to suspicion... [...]

Developing Professional Research: Making an impact

7 June 2018 | Event

In our busy academic world it is often commented on that there is little time for reflection or conversation. Networking and opportunities for personal development are at the heart of this professional learning opportunity. The event is aimed at... [...]

BERA Forum


Children and Childhoods

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