P05
Appropriating childhood: the current state of play

Convenors:
Rozanna Lilley (Children and Families Research Centre, Macquarie University)
Location:
D
Start time:
12 December, 2008 at 10:30
Session slots:
3

Short abstract:

This panel explores appropriation and childhood in diverse cultural and historical contexts. Papers deal with colonial and postcolonial appropriations of childhood under the rubric of welfare, as well as 'expert' appropriations of childhood and the creative socio-cultural appropriations of children.

Long abstract:

This panel explores the intersection between forms of appropriation and childhood in diverse cultural and historical contexts. Papers are especially encouraged that interrogate the relationship between the State and indigenous communities being contested in the name of preserving childhood. The recent interventions in Northern Australia are a pressing example of this contestation. Such interventions have a lengthy history both in Australia and elsewhere. Other examples of colonial and postcolonial appropriations of childhood under the rubric of various kinds of civilising projects are directly relevant to this theme. Papers are also invited that explore the cultural logic of other kinds of expert appropriations of childhood. A wide range of medical, psychiatric, educational and genetic discourses and practices all invite anthropological scrutiny in this regard. An increasing body of literature is concerned with expertise as a central phenomenon in modern life. How can anthropologies of childhood contribute both to the production of expertise on childhood and to the interrogation of expert discourse and practice about children? How do parents and children position themselves with regard to such discourses and practices? Alongside the notion of expert appropriations of childhood and of individual children, constructivist approaches that focus on how children appropriate society are also sought. Children and adolescents create their own peer cultures, partly through appropriating cultural conventions and symbols from the adult world. How is this process played out in different cultural contexts and historical periods? Finally, how has anthropology, as a discipline, contributed to expert appropriations of childhood, past and present?