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Deconstructing neoliberal childhood: towards a feminist antipsychological approach

Burman, Erica (2012) Deconstructing neoliberal childhood: towards a feminist antipsychological approach. ISSN 1461-7013

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Abstract

This article analyses child development as text to highlight newly emerging contemporary tropes of northern, normalized childhoods in relation to gender, racialization and familial organization. A recent UK marketing campaign for the washing powder Persil is analysed for the ways it mobilizes discourses of childhood and child rights. This indicates some key consolidations, especially around the configuration of gendered and racialized representations as ushered in through recent modes of psychologization and feminization. Discussion focuses on how text such as this deconstructs the opposition between popular cultural and expert (developmental psychological) knowledges to mediate their mutual elaboration and legitimation. The article ends by reflecting on the consequences of the focus on psychologization and feminization in relation to possible alliances and antagonisms of inter- and cross-disciplinary approaches to childhood, and their contributions to challenging wider development discourses.

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