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Approaches to Children’s Spatial Agency: Reviewing Actors, Agents and Families

  • Julie Seymour
Part of the Studies in Childhood and Youth book series (SCY)

Abstract

This chapter will review the consideration of space as an element of children’s agency within the social study of childhood and particularly the sociology of families. These two sub-disciplines may be seen as operating in parallel with each other but, as will be discussed, there have been calls to re-centre children within their families and other institutions as a recognition of the context in which they experience their everyday lives (Brannen and O’Brien, 1996; Jensen and McKee, 2003; Seymour and McNamee, 2012). The chapter will initially address the issue of children’s agency, reiterating Mayall’s (2002) distinction between social actors and agents. It will draw on this distinction to review studies which focus on children in spaces and children’s spaces. It will particularly consider the concepts of the betweenness of space and spaces of between-ness as they relate to the exercise of children’s agency and consider this at a variety of scales: domestic, public/local, international and global. The second part of the chapter will respond to the call to re-situate children into their family lives and discuss the role and study of space in family sociology; literally, to re-place them in family life. This will go some way to right Widerberg’s (2010, p. 1182) contention that ‘Within sociology… the tradition has been to focus more on the social relations than on the material space of their context’.

Keywords

Family Life Public Space Family Practice Childhood Study Domestic Space 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© Julie Seymour 2015

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  • Julie Seymour

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