Children in and out of place

Clark, Alison and Gallacher, Lesley-Anne (2013). Children in and out of place. In: Clark, Alison ed. Childhoods in Context (2nd ed). Bristol: Policy Press, pp. 1–52.



This chapter is concerned with the spaces and places in which children and young people live their lives, and the role that these spaces and places play in shaping their experiences. This is a growing area in the sociocultural study of childhood and youth, which has been particularly associated with the emergence of "children's geographies" as a distinctive subdiscipline within the broader field of geography. This is not to say that the spatial contexts of children and young people's lives are only of interest to geographers: researchers in a range of disciplines - including anthropology, sociology and education - have attended to what might be called the "geographies" of children and young people's lives. We will begin by discussing definitions of space and place. We will be asking where do children and young people fit in, where are they seen as in or out of place? And we will explore such terms as "children as weeds" and ideas about "adult-only" or "child-free spaces". Moving from thinking about how adults define space, we will explore examples, from literature and practice, of children's agency in creating spaces. We will end by focusing on the tensions that can arise between adults and children, and among peers, in negotiating space.

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