ISSN 1753-0849

Childhoods Today Online JournalChildhoods Today

An online journal for childhood studies

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Volume 6 Issue 1 - August 31, 2012

Running and Learning in the Museum: a Study of Young Children’s Behaviour in the Museum, and their Parents’ Discursive Positioning of that Behaviour

by Abigail Hackett

This paper presents some findings of an ethnographic study of eight families with young children visiting a local museum. The range of different behaviours of the children in the museum, including running around and ‘schooled’ learning activities such as mark making, are seen as children’s embodied responses to an emplaced experience (Pink, 2009) of being in the museum. These responses occurred in an arena of action (Hutchby and Moran-Ellis, 1998) shaped by the parents. Therefore, the main section of this paper focuses on parents’ talk in a series of after-visit interviews. Using critical discourse analysis (Gee, 1999), I argue that parents discursively positioned children’s running around in the museum and learning as oppositional categories. I trace the origin of these cultural models (Gee, 1999) to a range of wider societal discourses, specifically the “not-yet-ready” (Nichols et al, 2009) developing child, and the role of ‘good’ parents in the learning of their young children (Nichols, 2002).

Inclusive or Exclusive Participation: Paradigmatic Tensions in the Mosaic Aapproach and Implications for Childhood Research

by Caralyn Blaisdell

Early childhood research continues to be dominated by psychological research in the positivist paradigm. The Mosaic approach is one work that contests this dominant discourse on early childhood, using task-based, participatory inquiry to share power and involve children as co-constructors of knowledge. However, there are paradigmatic tensions underlying the use of task-based methods. In this paper I examine these tensions in the context of my own experience as an early career researcher. In particular the complex role of the researcher is discussed, and connected to issues of inclusion and exclusion regarding children’s participation in the research process.

Re-Examining the Education-Child Labour Nexus: The Case of Child Miners at Kenyasi, Ghana

by Samuel Okyere

This article contributes to the debate on the linkages between education and child labour. It draws on evidence from ethnographic fieldwork conducted with 57 children working at an artisanal gold mining site at Kenyasi, Ghana. The paper has no disagreements with the often stated views that quality can play an important role in child labour preventative efforts, and that child labour can impact negatively on children’s education. However, it calls for more complex readings of the correlation between child labour and education because in some instances, the feedback is not entirely negative.