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    Clowns, fools, and the more-than-Adult toddler

    Arculus, Charlotte and Macrae, Birgit ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7756-8871 (2022) Clowns, fools, and the more-than-Adult toddler. Global Studies of Childhood, 12 (3). pp. 209-223. ISSN 2043-6106

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    Childhood states are commonly invoked by adult humans in derisory ways and as put-downs. While infantile and clownish ways of behaving are often met with insult, we argue that these ways of being could instead be seen in terms of their productive potential. Drawing on posthuman and feminist theories and invoking clownish qualities of Haraway’s Bag Lady, we explore affinities between the figures of clown and toddler. This challenges a history of childism that constructs child as a less-than-adult, proposing instead, that the figure of child as inherently developmental and progressive is inextricably linked with how we conceive of the category of human. Making the case for the more-than-Adult toddler, we explore ways that clownish antics intersect with toddler ways of be(com)ing. This helps us to reframe the less-than child (not-yet human subject) as a figure of potential through animistic becomings-with the world that spill beyond the bounded individual and self/other binaries. We use this as a decolonising strategy to undo bounded and linear constructions of early childhood. The common antics of both toddlers and clown are explored in terms of how they might productively inform the co-production of improvisational pedagogic practices with young children.

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