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ABSTRACT. Standard approaches to the philosophy of childhood frequently begin by problematizing the child as object of study and then tacitly follow a chronology that embraces historical developments emphasizing theories of cognitive and moral development, children’s rights, agency of children, the good of childhood, philosophical thinking in children, and children’s literature. We argue that there is an ambivalence in the childhood studies as well as in our life with children. Despite the efforts to turn to childhood for inspiration and to give children rights there is a sense in which modernity implicates a kind of “adultism” (in line with racism and sexism), an oppression of children, rendering them voiceless. By following different philosophical, political and legal accounts of childhood we suggest that a philosophical study of children and childhood should be historicized and subjectivized. We claim that such an approach to childhood serves as a philosophical and political equivalent to feminism, queer-theory and post-colonialism in childhood studies. We further suggest a point of departure for this approach to childhood in Foucault and Wittgenstein’s work on seeing aspects. pp. 42–61

Keywords: childhood studies, philosophy of childhood, adultism, historicise, subjectivize

 

MICHAEL A. PETERS
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University of Waikato
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
VIKTOR JOHANSSON
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Stockholm University

 




 

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