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Conflicts in Children’s Everyday Lives

Fresh Perspectives on Protracted Crisis in Lebanon

Erik van Ommering

Based on child-oriented, ethnographic research in Lebanese school communities, this article offers an alternative approach to understanding the multitude of conflicts affecting Lebanon. It highlights how young Lebanese engage with corollaries of conflict in their everyday lives and simultaneously points to sources of security and resilience that children employ to confront adverse conditions. These resources, which are located in homes, schools, the environment and the ways in which young people engage their surroundings, all face unique conflict-induced pressures and dynamics. Approaching children in their generational and political contexts can help us identify and strengthen their capacities to confront, rather than reinforce, adverse conditions. In turn, this may offer a more sustainable way of promoting peace in conflict-affected societies.

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Relations of Trust, Questions about Expectations

Reflections on a Photography Project with Young South Africans

Oliver Pattenden

This article stems from my doctoral research, which considers moral contestation relating to education in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. Overall, I outline a case for working with young people: addressing asymmetrical institutional and generational relations of power in order to enrich the knowledge generated by research. My focus is a project entitled My Future, which involved approximately forty learners drawing diagrams and using disposable cameras to produce representations of their moral judgements. Notable distinctions between data gathered during two stages of fieldwork, of differing durations, are analysed with reference to my relations with interlocutors and related institutionalised and public discourses of morality. Using the concept of trust, which is established during exchanges of mutually beneficial sociality, I argue that how we understand others depends upon what they expect from us and what we expect of them.

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The Once and Future King

Negotiating the Survival of Boys in 1990s Cinema

Katie Barnett

On the cinema screen, boyhood has often been depicted as a period of freedom, rebellion, and energy, a pre-cursor to manhood in which young boys are able to negotiate their identity and place within the world. In 1990s Hollywood, however, a wave of films turn to depicting the death of young boys on screen. As a result, boyhood becomes a site of vulnerability and weakness. This article seeks to examine the implications of these deaths, framing them within the context of a wider negotiation of masculinity and fatherhood politics. In addition, it questions the extent to which the deaths of these young boys can be read queerly, subverting the drive towards the future inherent in the figure of the child.

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Martin Woodside

The nineteenth-century dime novel was a significant component of adolescent culture. Dime novel Westerns prefigured emerging ideas of adolescence to inform cultural constructions of American boyhood. These texts articulated and responded to prevailing notions of proper and improper boyhood by imagining the frontier as a space of and for youth. Scholars have addressed many subversive elements of the dime novel, while largely ignoring how this literature interrogated hierarchies and categories of age. The present analysis explores that gap, highlighting the Western dime novel as a critical site for negotiating ideas of American boyhood in the late nineteenth century.

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Brian L. Wright and Donna Y. Ford

As early as preschool, Black boys face low and negative expectations that contribute to excessive subjective-based discipline, over-referrals by teachers to special education, and under-referrals by teachers to gifted education. An increasing body of research demonstrates that the predominantly White female teaching force is complicit in allowing deficit thinking to compromise their views of Black boys’ languages, literacies, strengths, and cultural ways of being. We present an overview of these issues, with most attention devoted to gifted education, as it is a neglected topic when it comes to Black boys. We also share a formula for educators to adopt that sets minimum representation percentages in order to be equitable in gifted education for Black students in general and Black boys in particular.

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Negative Repetition

Masochism in Alan Hollinghurst's "The Folding Star"

Oliver Penny

This article reads Hollinghurst’s The Folding Star through a synthesis of Freud’s theories of transference and the death drive and Jean Laplanche’s theory of infantile masochism. My reading traces the role of masochism in the formation of the gay male subject and in this way contributes towards an understanding of the repressed masochism which is central to psychic life, and more specifically to an understanding of its role within masculinity and gay masculinities. Through this reading I attempt to shed light on the problems of such an identity both for the subject and for a relationality at work within Hollinghurst’s novel which is consistently dependent upon a melancholic preservation of heterosexual masculinity.

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Scriptive Things

Reading Childhood and Analyzing Discourses through Dolls

Elizabeth Chin

Robin Bernstein. 2011. Racial Innocence: Performing American Childhood from Slavery to Civil Rights. New York: NY University Press.

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Elizabeth Dillenburg

S. E. Duff. 2015. Changing Childhoods in the Cape Colony: Dutch Reformed Church Evangelicalism and Colonial Childhoods, 1860–1895. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

In Changing Childhoods in the Cape Colony: Dutch Reformed Church Evangelicalism and Colonial Childhoods, 1860–1895 (hereafter Changing Childhoods), S. E. Duff explores shifting notions of childhood and, more specifically, the emergence of new ideas about white childhood in the Cape Colony, South Africa, during the late nineteenth century by examining various efforts to convert and educate children, especially poor white children, and improve their welfare. As indicated in the title, Changing Childhoods draws attention to the multiplicity of experiences of children who existed alongside each other in the Cape Colony and how they were shaped by a variety of factors, including religion, location, class, race, and gender. While many histories of childhood elide the experiences of boys and girls, Duff pays careful attention to the different constructions of girlhood and boyhood and how gender shaped the lives of boys and girls, men and women. Throughout the book, girls appear not as passive observers but as complex agents shaping and participating in broader social, political, cultural, and economic transformations in the Cape.

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Katrien Vloeberghs

This collection of scholarly essays addresses figurations of Jewishness and childhood in literary texts from a variety of perspectives in literary theory and cultural analysis. Literature appears as one of the revealing instances where these two figurations interact with each other in important ways. Fundamental to the interrelationship between Jewishness and childhood is the endeavour to transmit Jewish culture, history and religion to the children of future generations and to emphasize the latter as both the keepers and renewers of tradition. The contributions aim at illuminating both the referential and metaphorical interrelations between Jewishness and childhood in the medium of literature.

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Interiority and government of the child

Transparency, risk, and good governance in Indonesia

Jan Newberry

Early childhood education and care programs in Indonesia developed rapidly in the aftermath of the 2006 earthquake centered south of Yogyakarta. The newly empowered self-directed learner at the center of these programs seemed to follow from the emergence of another child in this devastated landscape: the traumatized child in need of healing. The appearance of these images of childhood along with Indonesia’s neoliberal democratization reiterates the long-standing relationship between childhood and rule. Grounded in long-term ethnographic work in the Yogyakarta area, this article traces a conceptual link between the shift to transparent and accountable good governance in post-Suharto Indonesia and the desire to produce a newly transparent childhood ready for intervention. The generative power of history, trauma, and the interior self is contrasted with risk management, nongovernmental governance, and the exteriorization of self and state to challenge the unquestioned good of empowerment and transparency.