Professor Alanen describes her route into childhood studies, which was influenced by Marxism and feminism as well as by her own childhood experiences. She describes her ongoing commitment to studying childhood from a structural perspective and her concern about maintaining high standards in research. She is also concerned about the lack of engagement with theory in childhood studies and expresses some pessimism about the future of the field if the value of strong theory and disciplinary rigour is disregarded. She sees relational theory as one promising theoretical approach, which is gaining purchase across a number of academic disciplines.
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