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Child Development

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Definition

Child development is an area of study that posits and examines processes of growth that are thought to occur during a time of life that is culturally defined as childhood. Rooted in legacies of colonialism and modernity, development became an object of scientific study within the disciplinary fields of anthropology, biology, and psychology. In this context, the figure of “the child” became a miniature embodiment of progress and evidence of the need for intervention in the form of education. However, scholars across a range of fields have identified and critiqued development as an exclusionary discourse that upholds structures of privilege and inequity. This critical scholarship reroutes the universalized terms of developmental discourse to examine the uneven social conditions in which children live. Within this critical turn, scholars have also shifted emphasis away the adult-centered focus of developmental discourse to highlight the creative agencies, experiences,...

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Farley, L., Dyer, H. (2021). Child Development. In: Lester, J.N., O'Reilly, M. (eds) The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Critical Perspectives on Mental Health. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-12852-4_25-1

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