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Conceptual resources for questioning ‘child as educator’

Burman, Erica (2013) Conceptual resources for questioning ‘child as educator’. Studies in philosophy and education, 32 (3). pp. 229-243. ISSN 1573-191X

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Abstract

This paper critically evaluates the ways we look to children to educate us and explores how we might depart from that dynamic, exploring how a range of conceptual frameworks from historical and cultural studies and psychoanalysis might contribute to understanding the problematic of childhood, its problems and its limitations. While ‘child as educator’ may appear to reverse the typical power relations between adults and children, it is argued that this motif in fact repeats many of the same problems as any claims about what children, and especially what ‘child’, is like. Specifically, the paper first reviews analyses of what is at stake in the figure of ‘child’; second, feminist engagement with the notion of ‘intersectionality’ is discussed in terms of how it might inform debates about childhood. Finally, drawing on Lacanian psychoanalytic approaches, analysis focuses on the notion of misrecognition structured in the ‘as’ connecting ‘child’ and ‘educator’.

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