ISSN 1753-0849

Childhoods Today Online JournalChildhoods Today

An online journal for childhood studies

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Volume 7 Issue 1 - August 31, 2013

Young Children’s Character Culture in Japan: Possession, Knowledge and Belongingness

by Mayumi Takahashi

“Character culture” – the possession, appropriation and representation of media-related or licensed characters – has been a unique socio-cultural phenomenon in Japan (Miyashita 2001). These characters have been acknowledged, among both adults and children, both as identity markers for individuals and as a form of social, cultural, economic and relational currency (Kayama 2001). This paper explores how preschool children aged 3-5 years old construct their sense of belonging in their peer culture in Japan through character goods and knowledge. Drawing on fieldwork in two preschools in Japan, I discuss that possessing and knowing about popular commercialised products take an influential role in peer culture, which inevitably affects children’s ‘economy of dignity’, their sense of belonging (Pugh 2009). The findings of the study suggest that young children establish and manage their public self-image in order to allow a sense of connectedness among peers, and that in their efforts to feel being worthy to others, they constantly and creatively shape and reshape the meanings and values of those commercialised character goods and knowledge.

Normality and Deviance in Norwegian Day-care Institutions

by Karianne Franck

The main objective of the article is to explore day-care staff members’ discussions and reflections on children regarding normality and deviance. The article is based on interviews and fieldwork in four Norwegian day-care units. Attention is placed on everyday conversations and interview statements regarding children whose conduct and demeanour deviates from what is perceived as ‘normal’ in day-care centres. Analyses of the day-care staffs’ descriptions and reflections illustrate how their ways of reasoning relate to divergent discourses and understandings of children and childhood. The analysis illustrates how day-care staff members evaluate and define children as deviant within a discourse of age and development informed by policies and the use of standardized tests and evaluation materials. However, the article also emphasises how day-care staffs’ critical reflections on normality modify and question the knowledge and classification of children produced within such evaluations.

Living Daily with Parental Migration: Experiences of Children Left-Behind by Migrated Parents

by Boabang Owusu

Migration has profound impact on the developmental process of every country. However, knowledge and analysis of children’s everyday life experiences and their coping strategies with parental migration when left-behind have received less attention in Ghana. This study explores the experiences of children left-behind by one or both parent(s) through transnational migration, and the care arranged for them. The theory of social studies of children and childhood, which recognises children as active agents who can be studied from their own perspectives, forms the theoretical framework that guides the study. The findings of the study are drawn from qualitative data collected through interviews with children and caregivers. The study concludes that, migrated parents and policymakers will benefit from understanding the impact of migration on both children and caregivers to ensure good policy formulation on the part of policy makers as well as efficient planning and decision making by migrating parent(s).