“Migranthood chronicles deportation from the perspectives of Indigenous youth who migrate unaccompanied from Guatemala to Mexico and the United States. In communities of origin in Guatemala, zones of transit in Mexico, detention centers for children in the U.S., government facilities receiving returned children in Guatemala, and communities of return, young people share how they negotiate everyday violence and discrimination, how they and their families prioritize limited resources and make difficult decisions, and how they develop and sustain relationships over time and space…The insights and experiences of young people uncover the transnational effects of securitized responses to migration management and development on individuals and families, across space, citizenship status, and generation.”
“In most of the worlds’ distinct cultures, children – from toddlerhood – eagerly volunteer to help others with their chores. Laboratory research in child psychology supports the claim that the helper “stage” is biologically based. This Element examines the development of helping in varied cultural contexts, in particular, reviewing evidence for supportive environments in the ethnographic record versus an environment that extinguishes the drive to be helpful in WEIRD children. In the last section, the benefits of the helper stage are discussed, specifically the development of an ability to work and learn collaboratively.”
Co-edited by Kristen Cheney and Aviva Sinervo (SFSU), containing chapters from up-and-coming childhood and development studies scholars, and covering most regions of the world, the volume critically considers how transnational charitable industries are created and mobilized around childhood need by exploring how humanitarian interventions for children in difficult circumstances engage in affective commodification and objectification of disadvantaged childhoods. The authors argue that, though these processes can help achieve the goals of donors and aid organizations, they can also perpetuate the conditions that organizations seek to alleviate—thereby endangering the very children they intend to help.
We are pleased to announce the forthcoming release of Feminism and the Politics of Childhood: Friends or Foes? (details attached)
To celebrate the launch of the book, we invite colleagues, friends, family and contributors to join us at the Institute of Advanced Studies (University College London) on the 7th March at 6pm. As well a brief overview of the book and an opportunity to hear from contributors, there will be wine and nibbles to enjoy!
Feminism and the Politics of Childhood: Friends or Foes?, edited by Rachel Rosen and Katherine Twamley, is a collection of 18 chapters which together offer an innovative and critical exploration of perceived commonalities and conflicts between women and children and, more broadly, intersections and antagonisms between various forms of feminism and the politics of childhood. This unique collection brings into dialogue authors from a wide variety of geographical contexts, academic disciplines, activist organisations, and theoretical perspectives. Together the contributions offer new ways to conceptualise relations between women and children and to address injustices faced by both groups.
Details and registration information for the launch are here:
The genesis for this book was a growing acknowledgement that the experience of childhood in modern, upper-echelon society looks drastically different from both historical and cross-cultural antecedents. Anthropologists studying childhood find a great range of “normal” childhood experiences that, nevertheless, might be considered highly unorthodox—even harmful—by current “informed” parents and professionals. Raising Children uses insights drawn from the anthropology of childhood to serve as a lens to critically examine contemporary childhood.
Global inequalities make it difficult for parents in developing nations to provide for their children. Some determine that migration in search of higher wages is their only hope. Many studies have looked at how migration transforms the child–parent relationship. But what happens to other generational relationships when mothers migrate?
Spirit Children: Illness, Poverty, and Infanticide in Northern Ghana
In parts of West Africa, some babies and toddlers are considered spirit children—nonhumans sent from the forest to cause misfortune and destroy the family. These are usually deformed or ailing infants, the very young whose births coincide with tragic events, or children who display unusual abilities. In some of these cases, families seek a solution in infanticide. Many others do not.
Chinese academic traditions take zuo ren—self-fulfillment in terms of moral cultivation—as the ultimate goal of education. To many in contemporary China, however, the nation seems gripped by moral decay, the result of rapid and profound social change over the course of the twentieth century. Placing Chinese children, alternately seen as China’s greatest hope and derided as self-centered “little emperors,” at the center of her analysis, Jing Xu investigates the effects of these transformations on the moral development of the nation’s youngest generation.
In Zambia, due to the rise of tuberculosis and the closely connected HIV epidemic, a large number of children have experienced the illness or death of at least one parent. Children as Caregivers examines how well intentioned practitioners fail to realize that children take on active caregiving roles when their guardians become seriously ill and demonstrates why understanding children’s care is crucial for global health policy.
Using ethnographic methods, and listening to the voices of the young as well as adults, Jean Hunleth makes the caregiving work of children visible. She shows how children actively seek to “get closer” to ill guardians by providing good care. Both children and ill adults define good care as attentiveness of the young to adults’ physical needs, the ability to carry out treatment and medication programs in the home, and above all, the need to maintain physical closeness and proximity. Children understand that losing their guardians will not only be emotionally devastating, but that such loss is likely to set them adrift in Zambian society, where education and advancement depend on maintaining familial, reciprocal relationships. View a gallery of images from the book.