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Conflicts in Children’s Everyday Lives

Fresh Perspectives on Protracted Crisis in Lebanon

Erik van Ommering

’s political and security upheaval receives ample attention in both academic and media accounts, most publications fail to consider how conflict shapes the lives of young Lebanese. Similarly, the ways in which children and youth take part in producing and

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Children's Sociality

The Civilizing Project in the Danish Kindergarten

Karen Fog Olwig

The increasing institutionalization of childhood in Western societies has generated concern in the social sciences regarding the disciplinary and regulating regimes of institutions and their presumed constraints on children's social interaction. This article argues that institutions for children can also enable such social interaction. Drawing on Norbert Elias's proposal that child rearing entails a civilizing project, this article contends that being 'not-yet-civilized' enables children to draw on a wide range of emotions and bodily expressions that are unavailable to adults. Through an analysis of life stories narrated by Danish youths, it is shown that common grounds of interaction were established in early childhood, allowing them to turn this adultconstructed institution into a place of their own where they could develop a sense of sociality.

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Children of the Totem – Children under the Law

Notes on the Filiation Bond in Emile Durkheim

Luca Guizzardi

This essay asks why Durkheim was so opposed to free consensual unions, in a support for marriage and the family. But it is above all an attempt to explore the theoretical sources of his insistent and even dogmatic opposition to 'free unions'. Accordingly, it involves Durkheim's thinking about the sacred in two key areas. One centres round issues of filiation, and involves his account of totems, clans and the individual's social identity. The other centres round his view that individualism grows along with the increasing activity of the state, and involves interrelated questions of property, inheritance, the contract and the role of civil law. The result is a tension in his thought between an emphasis on the sacred as the origin of things and a more secular concern with the importance in modern life of moral relations expressed and regulated by civil law. Although his opposition to free unions has roots in 'children of the totem', it is suggested it is above all a modern concern with 'children of the law'.

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Women and children together and apart

Finding the time for social reproduction theory

Jan Newberry and Rachel Rosen

In what ways, and to what effects, are proliferating temporalities of appropriation in financialized capitalism transforming or transformed by those of social reproductive labor? More specifically, how are woman-child relations affected when social reproduction becomes a site of immediate, not just indirect, capital accumulation through relations of debt? To answer these questions, we take up species-being as the labor relation that anchors socially necessary labor and links women and children by attending to three temporal modalities of accumulation via social reproductive labor: scholarization, (re)familization, and debt servicing. We argue that differentiated tempos in the appropriation of surplus value, operating to “fix” contradictions between capital’s short- and long-term interests, are critical sources of tension between women and children in the meeting of needs. Producing and mapping divergent rhythms of appropriation on to different groups may both link diverse women and children, and put their interests at odds.

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Kate Cairns

At the very time that I was reading Jan Newberry and Rachel Rosen’s “Women and Children Together and Apart,” young people around the world were organizing collectively to demand action on climate change. On 15 March 2019, children and youth in more than one hundred countries walked out of school in a coordinated act of defiance. Gathering in parks, public squares, and on the steps of government headquarters, their signs and chants decried the intergenerational violence of planetary destruction, demanding accountability from the world’s most powerful. As these young people make clear, the climate crisis is very much a crisis of social reproduction: the environmental devastation wrought by capitalist accumulation threatens the conditions for making and sustaining life, with particularly devastating consequences for the world’s most marginalized. In their organizing to demand political action to address this crisis, young people have shone a light on the multiple temporalities at stake: by withholding their labor as striking students, they refuse to produce value for a future that is increasingly under threat.

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Olga Nieuwenhuys

Having worked on children’s labor of reproduction from the very beginning of my career as an anthropologist, Jan Newberry and Rachel Rosen’s piece, which engages with the complex and thorny issue of “women and children” from a feminist framework, intrigued me. The piece is interesting because it contributes to resuscitate social reproduction theory, a conceptual framework that has only recently been rescued from the academic limbo to which it had been relegated since the 1980s under the influence of postmodernist critique. This influence has resulted for children in an overstated focus on the individual child’s agency that evades altogether addressing children’s roles in the wider political economy. But can returning to the notion of social reproduction fill the gap? I suggest that, though Newberry and Rosen enrich the theory with such notions as “temporality” and “financialization,” the conceptual framework remains too abstract to account for children’s role. I begin describing my personal experience with social reproduction, which started in in the 1970s, to then discuss Newberry and Rosen’s proposal to revive the notion. I argue that the proposal overstates the role of women in social reproduction and suggest three lines of enquiry that may help better acknowledge what children, among others, contribute. I finally discuss why I feel social reproduction theorizing may benefit from thinking in terms of a “global womb” in which children and women find themselves, both socially and geographically, locked.

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Identifying Stone Alignments Created by Adults and Children

A Case Study from a Dukha Reindeer Herder Summer Camp, Khövsgöl Aimag, Mongolia

Madeline E. Mackie, Todd A. Surovell and Matthew O'Brien

Stone alignments are found worldwide in the archaeological record. As with many archaeological phenomena, these features are often assumed to have been constructed by adults. During ethnoarchaeological fieldwork with Dukha reindeer herders in Khövsgöl Aimag, Mongolia, we observed stone alignments, or “playhouses”, that were constructed by children alongside other stone features that had been constructed by adults. In this paper, we compare stone size and frequency within and between adult- and child-constructed rock alignments. We found that features created by children are characterized by numerous stones of comparatively low weight, while adult features typically have fewer and larger stones. Stones within features created by children also exhibit greater variation in size. We attribute these differences to physical limitations of children and the intended functions of stones in each case. This ethnographic case can serve as a guide for the identification of the authorship of stone features in archaeological contexts.

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Susanne Højlund

Based on fieldwork in Danish children's homes, this article examines how the idea of 'home' has emerged and become integrated in institutional practices. The ideal of hominess serves as a positive model for sociality in the institution, but at the same time it also produces dilemmas, paradoxes, and contradictions for both children and social workers. These dilemmas stem from the conflicting values of institution and home. Nevertheless, the two spheres should not be seen as spaces with incompatible logics; rather, they should be viewed as mutually dependent but competing ideas (and practices) that are inherent in the institutional value hierarchy. The article argues that the ideal of authenticity plays a central role in the way that hominess is perceived as a positive value in children's homes—and perhaps in institutions in general.

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Andrew A. Gentes

This article presents a first step towards creation of a demographic analysis of Siberia's exilic population during the nineteenth century. The article makes the argument that traditional Russian attitudes towards children were reflected on a macroscopic scale in the state's treatment of the children of criminals and other deviants deported and exiled to Siberia and the Russian Far East. The article uses a statistical approach as well as anecdotal materials to suggest some of the possible impacts the deportation of tens of thousands of children had on the later history of Russia.

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Tore Holst

In Delhi, former street children guide tourists around the streets they once inhabited and show how the NGOs they live with try to resocialize current street children. The “personal stories” they perform implicitly advocate simple solutions that conveniently fit the limited engagement of the tourists, whose ethical position is thereby validated in relation to the NGO. But this uncomplicated exchange of guides’ emotions for tourists’ capital is in the guides’ interest, because it allows them to set boundaries for the emotional labor of performing their past suffering. The guides are thus incentivized to work within a post-humanitarian logic, selling their stories as commodities, which then incentivize the tourists to act as consumers, who have little choice but to frame their declarations of solidarity with the children as acts of consumption.