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Positioning Children’s Agency in Everyday Home Spaces and Objects: Linking Theory and Research

Bringing Children Back into the Family: Relationality, Connectedness and Home

ISBN: 978-1-83867-198-3, eISBN: 978-1-83867-197-6

ISSN: 1537-4661

Publication date: 25 September 2020

Abstract

This chapter describes sociological research on the material and spatial dimensions of everyday family life in the United States, with a specific emphasis on how children’s agency is manifest in the display and use of childhood and parenthood objects in home spaces. Children’s agency is framed as a juxtaposition of individual control and cultural and structural constraint, but also as it positions children in relation to adults, home spaces in relation to not-home spaces, and families in relation to other social realms such as the marketplace, schools, and the digital world. Three research topics are featured, all of which stem from the author’s projects spanning the last decade. These include parenting roles as shown in the taking and managing of digital and physical family photographs, children’s use of technology as a way to tell the story of parent–child connectedness in families separated into two homes, and young adults’ use of objects and spaces to signify role transition into adulthood. The central themes emerging from this research are supported by a theoretical foundation that combines Corsaro’s (2012) interpretive reproduction of childhood alongside Anderson, Moore, and Suski’s (2016) call for material mindfulness in sociological investigations of the home.

Keywords

Citation

Janning, M. (2020), "Positioning Children’s Agency in Everyday Home Spaces and Objects: Linking Theory and Research", Frankel, S., McNamee, S. and Bass, L.E. (Ed.) Bringing Children Back into the Family: Relationality, Connectedness and Home (Sociological Studies of Children and Youth, Vol. 27), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 181-192. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1537-466120200000027012

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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