Re-entangling Childhoods: Post-essentialist Approaches to Children’s Everyday Lives

Sebastian Rojas-Navarro, Patricio Rojas

Producción científica: Contribución a los tipos de informe/libroCapítulorevisión exhaustiva


In his first editorial as new editor of Childhood—a flagship journal for academics and scholars interested in childhood studies—Spyros Spyrou (2017) strongly argued for the necessity to reconsider some key notions and categories that, for a long time, have been central for our current understanding of children and childhood. Mainly, he aimed at “decentering” childhood by incorporating, in a braver fashion, insights from emerging fields and theories that have been sensitive to the transformations carried on by the “ontological turn” in social sciences. This, as the need to “engage with real-life emerging concerns which escape the narrow confines of a ‘child-centered’ field of study” has become increasingly evident. The concerns and propositions made by Spyrou are not unknown for the field of psychosocial studies and social psychology. Attempts have been made by key scholars on this field to search for inspiration in other areas of expertise (O’Doherty et al., 2019; Stenner, 2017), inasmuch they have perceived the urgent need to reconfigure these field’s methods and subjects of study. In the midst of a social world that is constantly changing, it becomes imperative to create renewed approaches, able to grasp the complexities of our current modes of existence, where the borders between the social, the natural, and the technological are becoming increasingly blurred (Prout, 2005). After all, as Stenner (2014, p. 206) has argued, “questions of psychology can be very poorly posed when abstracted from their cultural, societal and historical settings, and (…) these settings are poorly understood in abstraction from the living, experiencing human beings whose actions make their reproduction and transformation possible.” Although these new foundations for psychology and psychosocial studies have managed to inspire interesting alternatives to think about traditional topics in psychology (Brown, 2018; Brown & Reavey, 2015; Brown & Stenner, 2009; Cromby, 2015; Rojas, 2017; Tucker, 2012), its impact in reimagining childhood still requires further developing. Despite attempts made in order to reframe childhood (Lee & Motzkau, 2012; Rojas Navarro, 2018), “childhood” and “children” continue to be categories strongly embedded in modernist ideas about the human subject, which end up acting as shortcomings that prevent the development of a new theoretically and empirically informed imagination about childhood. This chapter advances in the wake of the latter. To fully grasp the complexities and multiplicities (Law & Mol, 2002) of current children’s lives, we resign traditional conceptualizations of childhood that have pervaded child and social psychology during the most of the twentieth century, offering an alternative port of departure. Inspired by STS and the ontological turn in the social sciences, we argue for the need to reconceptualize childhood in terms of entanglements, fragile assemblages produced in encounters which are open-ended and dependent of a heterogeneity of human and nonhuman agents (Prout, 2019; Savransky, 2016). Such a post-essentialist approach demands us to be aware of the fundamental relationality of childhood. It also requests researchers to be attentive to the constant component of novelty in which children’s lives are enacted in different locations, times, and spaces.

Idioma originalInglés
Título de la publicación alojadaNew Waves in Social Psychology
EditorialSpringer International Publishing AG
Número de páginas27
ISBN (versión digital)9783030874063
ISBN (versión impresa)9783030874056
EstadoPublicada - 1 ene. 2022

Áreas temáticas de ASJC Scopus

  • Psicología General


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