Navigating the bio-politics of childhood

Lee, Nicholas and Motzkau, Johanna (2011). Navigating the bio-politics of childhood. Childhood: A Global Journal for Childhood Studies, 18(1) pp. 7–19.



The study of childhood is currently weakened by a biological/social dualism, separating ‘social’ from ‘developmental’ traditions and falsely identifying the investigation of life processes with the naturalisation of childhood. Researching the emerging space of childhood bio-politics, in which life processes are central to social and political processes, requires that these problems be managed. The view of childhood as a ‘hybrid’ phenomenon allows for the management of dualism but has difficulty navigating bio-political space. A supplementary approach based on multiplicities of ‘life’, ‘voice’ and ‘resource’ is described. The argument is illustrated through discussion of sonic ‘teen deterrents’ in the UK.

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