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Children Framing ChildhoodsWorking-Class Kids' Visions of Care$
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Wendy Luttrell

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781447352853

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447352853.001.0001

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Ways of seeing diverse working-class children and childhoods

Ways of seeing diverse working-class children and childhoods

(p.19) 1 Ways of seeing diverse working-class children and childhoods
Children Framing Childhoods

Wendy Luttrell

Policy Press

This chapter introduces Worcester, Massachusetts, Park Central School, and the project through the lens of a critical childhood studies perspective. A key tenet of critical childhood studies is to take children seriously as witnesses to their experiences, no matter where they “fit” into child development discourses. A critical childhood perspective interrogates the changing meanings of childhood—including who counts as a child, when this status begins and ends—and recognizes that these meanings are contingent on historical, economic, cultural, and institutional contexts. Children's new identities as “learners” were intertwined with schooling practices developed to manage, control, and orient them to fitting into society. In addition, a critical childhood perspective must take account of how the legacy of slavery, institutional racism, and colorism shape who is afforded the protected status of “child” to begin with. In adopting a critical childhood perspective, then, this study aims to address multiple challenges—avoiding “adultist” and neoliberal viewpoints and placing young people's agency, voices, and images at its center; rethinking how children's value and worth is assigned, especially in schooling; maintaining a focus on parallels and intersections between women's and children's experiences of structural oppression; and accounting for how the legacy of slavery, structural racism, and anti-Blackness inform views of childhood, gender, discipline/punishment, and learning.

Keywords:   Worcester, Park Central School, critical childhood studies, children, schooling practices, institutional racism, colorism, agency, structural oppression, childhood

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