Intersections Between Western and Indian Childhood Discourses

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 10:54 AM
Room: Booth 64
Oral Presentation
Mariam JOHN MEYNERT , Center for Education, Department of Sociology, Lund University, Lund, Sweden
This paper presents one of the chapters in my Phil.lic dissertation on Conceptualising Childhood, Indian children as a social category are neither homogeneous nor monolithic. “Childhood” in Indian discourses represent “shifting set of ideas” developed over a period of time, and across different sub-cultures. In this paper I develop the intersections between childhood discourses in India and the West in order to show that childhood discourses (located in the West) documented in this study are getting percolated into Indian discourses due to globalization of childhood discourses, even as there are protests about childhood discourses being Eurocentric. In both the West and in India plurality of childhoods have been acknowledged in discourses on Childhood. Indian sociological studies document multiplicity of childhoods which in turn depends on varying factors such as region, religion, caste, social class, gender, family structure, etc. What emerges from the study of texts on the subject, is that both India and the West children have been marginalization in sociological discourses on children until now. There is a perceived emergent decrease in patriarchal control of children by adults, with adult-child relations becoming more democratic and participatory, manifested in greater negotiation of control by children. The “Century of the Child” notable for the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) and the new Sociology of Childhood has brought children into the arena of International politics and academic debates in both the North and the South.