The Significance of Space and Place for Well-Being in Childhood

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 08:45
Oral Presentation
Lise MOGENSEN, Western Sydney University, Australia
Michel EDENBOROUGH, Western Sydney University, Australia
Jan MASON, Western Sydney University, Australia
Gabrielle DRAKE, Australian Catholic University, Australia
Janet FALLOON, Western Sydney University, Australia
Rhea FELTON, Western Sydney University, Australia
The particular framework used for analysing data is an important element in understanding and defining child well-being through qualitative research. In this paper we discuss the use of space/place as the analytic frame for deriving a construction of children’s lives and well-being from themes dominant in the narratives of children in the Australian contribution to the broader multi-national child well-being research project.

Our use of spatiality as a frame reflects the situating of the Australian project in the context of the broader CUWB study, whereby the emphasis on the global and local, highlights the significance of place for child well-being. We discuss ways in which the narratives of children in the Australian research challenge the conceptualisation of space as ‘stasis’, by informing us of the way in which the ‘time of childhood’ contextualises space. Further, our analysis of children’s narratives indicates the significance of emotions in giving meaning to the spaces and places in children’s lives. It shows how the dynamics of adult-child relations, in carers’ attempts to border spaces of childhood, are at times accepted and other times contested by children, referring to both home and school. Attempts to establish spatial borders for children and children’s ongoing contestation of these borders is particularly evident in children’s use of media in their social relations. We discuss findings from the research on how children use technology, sometimes alongside more conventional child media, such as painting, to construct their individual and group life spaces, while also constructing themselves. We draw out some implications of the linking of place with well-being for understanding childhoods in a global world.