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Giving Voice to Children's Voices: Practices and Problems, Pitfalls and Potentials

Giving Voice to Children's Voices: Practices and Problems, Pitfalls and Potentials In this article, I explore the lessons that the anthropological debates of the 1980s about writing culture might have for contemporary childhood research within anthropology and the social sciences more generally. I argue that the current rhetoric about “giving voice to children,” commonplace both inside and outside the academy, poses a threat to the future of childhood research because it masks a number of important conceptual and epistemological problems. In particular, these relate to questions of representation, issues of authenticity, the diversity of children's experiences, and children's participation in research, all of which need to be addressed by anthropologists in their own research practices with children. Unless anthropologists do so, childhood research risks becoming marginalized once more and will fail to provide an arena within which children are seen as social actors who can provide a unique perspective on the social world about matters that concern them as children. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png American Anthropologist Wiley

Giving Voice to Children's Voices: Practices and Problems, Pitfalls and Potentials

American Anthropologist , Volume 109 (2) – Jan 1, 2007

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References (79)

Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Copyright © 2007 Wiley Subscription Services
ISSN
0002-7294
eISSN
1548-1433
DOI
10.1525/aa.2007.109.2.261
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

In this article, I explore the lessons that the anthropological debates of the 1980s about writing culture might have for contemporary childhood research within anthropology and the social sciences more generally. I argue that the current rhetoric about “giving voice to children,” commonplace both inside and outside the academy, poses a threat to the future of childhood research because it masks a number of important conceptual and epistemological problems. In particular, these relate to questions of representation, issues of authenticity, the diversity of children's experiences, and children's participation in research, all of which need to be addressed by anthropologists in their own research practices with children. Unless anthropologists do so, childhood research risks becoming marginalized once more and will fail to provide an arena within which children are seen as social actors who can provide a unique perspective on the social world about matters that concern them as children.

Journal

American AnthropologistWiley

Published: Jan 1, 2007

Keywords: ; ; ;

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