Development Cooperation’s Focus on Childhood. Global Visions and Local Realities
RC53 Sociology of Childhood
Programs of development cooperation put children in the spotlight and even very young children. But, how do they define children and what is their understanding of good childhood and education? The hypothesis we propose to examine is that the policy for young children is authorized by a discourse on the child’s universal and natural body and development. For older children such assumptions of a universal human development seem less explicit. Still, an amazing worldwide similarity of school institutions and education programs remains. This raises another issue: What do these assumptions include and what are their consequences for local societies and for different groups of children in these societies? What kind of multifaceted realities of children’s lives are they confronted with, in different regions, according to age and to sex? Are the definitions of childhood(s), as organizations of development implement them, suitable for children living in contexts of poverty, and often enough of power relationships, violence, injustice? What are examples of development cooperation programs attempting to be sensitive to local realities and what are their conditions and outcomes?
Session organizers welcome contributions addressing a wide range of such programs and local realities: proposals on development cooperation's vision of childhood, on Southern childhood(s) and on the potential discrepancy and its effects. Organizers will give special attention to contributions who give insight into (differing) understandings of what might be violence children are experiencing and how shall be dealt with it as well.
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