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Purpose – This study examined the often minimized relationship between child sexual abuse and the body and asked: How, and by what means, is the body experienced by children after sexual abuse? The purpose of this work is to present children's interpretations of embodiment in their own words.
Methodology – Data include 10 years of semi-structured videotaped forensic interviews of children and youth seen for reported cases of sexual abuse. Utilizing an analytic-inductive method, children's verbal reports of sexual abuse were examined from a symbolic interactionist perspective in terms of re/productions of the body.
Findings – Discourse analyses revealed how children evaluated the body and negotiated related emotions. Youth ascribed meaning to the body as both materiality and social interaction. The body was experienced as object and somatic presence, as a marked or stigmatized body, and as a means of control and resistance. Through their own words, youth revealed how violence draws attention to embodiment, power, and subjectivity.
Value – Despite increased public and policy attention, limited research has explored how children describe their experiences of sexual abuse. This study addresses this serious gap in the literature by approaching the sexually abused body as a critical site of social meaning and social order. Of significant import, this work brings children's voices to the forefront; it shows how youth actively negotiate embodiment and expands work with child participants. It will be of value to practitioners working with children and to scholars in the fields of sexual victimization, sociology of the body and children/childhood.
During the 2006 annual meeting of the American Sociological Association (ASA), a group of us gathered for a session entitled, “Children and Youth Speak for Themselves.”…
During the 2006 annual meeting of the American Sociological Association (ASA), a group of us gathered for a session entitled, “Children and Youth Speak for Themselves.” The session was sponsored by the Children and Youth Section of the ASA, and it was well attended. The topic was one that many of us had long been awaiting at a major conference. The papers were good, and there was enthusiasm among those of us gathered there that day. As the session ended, and the attendees flowed out of the room, those of us who had given papers on the panel were filled with a sense of excitement about what had just taken place. There was a palpable energy surrounding a topic near and dear to the hearts of us and our peer scholars of children and youth: the authentic voices of kids themselves. We had a sense that day that something important had happened. We had made central to our discipline, at least for a moment, the perspectives of young people (people who most often cannot, on their own, make their voices heard by a scholarly audience). That session took place in Montreal, Canada, in the summer.
This paper reports on the ways in which a group of middle school students who received character education in elementary school define and experience character. The…
This paper reports on the ways in which a group of middle school students who received character education in elementary school define and experience character. The research was designed to improve our understanding of the meanings that the children ascribe to their character lessons in the long term, and to determine whether they see connections between these lessons and their experiences with character in middle school. The data come from interviews with 24 children who attended five different elementary schools in one town that used the Character Counts! curriculum at the time of the study. The students were questioned about their understanding of the curriculum and their own personal experiences with character-related issues in middle school. The results demonstrate that the elementary school character lessons are carried forward. Children are able to recall the formal meaning of many of the character traits that they studied. As they graduate to middle school, however, peer culture assumes an increasingly important role and their lived experience of character become more complex. Thus, the preteens studied here are actively working to reconcile the differences between character as a “learned,” and then a “lived” experience. While maturation and character lessons received beyond school may confound these findings, the results presented here suggest the need to bridge, and then perhaps adapt character programming to empower adolescent input and embrace the role of peer culture in defining and then redefining character.
Purpose – Exploring children's perspectives on participation in social research provides sociologists with new insight into how to include children's voices and…
Purpose – Exploring children's perspectives on participation in social research provides sociologists with new insight into how to include children's voices and perspectives effectively in sociological studies of childhood.
Design/methodology/approach – Child-centered interviews were conducted with 20 children between the ages of 5 and 12 as part of a larger research project.
Findings – Findings from interviews, artwork, and researcher field notes suggest that the children interviewed enjoyed the experience of participating in child-centered social research, maintained serious attitudes toward their inclusion in social research and wish to be active participants in future research involving kids.
Practical implications – Suggestions are offered for future research studies of this population and recommendations are made to encourage American sociologists to consider the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in research endeavors.
The current study examines developing racial attitudes among a group of African American adolescents. Data for this study include 28 open-ended, qualitative interviews…
The current study examines developing racial attitudes among a group of African American adolescents. Data for this study include 28 open-ended, qualitative interviews with African American adolescents (64% girls, 36% boys) in Detroit, Michigan, and were drawn from a larger study in which these adolescents and their mothers were interviewed about racial socialization. Data analysis shows adolescents' racial attitudes to be ambivalent and influenced by the dissonance between “color-blind” rhetoric – the idea that “race doesn't matter” – and their everyday experiences, in which race does matter in important ways. Adolescents' reports of racial attitudes and experiences with racism frequently include travel anecdotes, which reveal how place, travel, and negotiating the color line influence their developing ideas about race. The findings suggest that sources beyond parental socialization strongly affect adolescents' developing racial attitudes and identities and that young people's voices should be further utilized in studies examining these issues.