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The scholarly study of children and young people is a relatively new multidisciplinary effort that spans multiple epistemologies and methodologies, making it challenging for students and scholars to stay informed. From psychology to labor rights, from ethics to education, Childhood Studies is one of the most active fields in academia today. It encompasses the meanings that adults place on children’s innocence or competence, and interrogates the notion of childhood as a social category. How adults have thought about children and the impact that this has had on the ways children are treated are also analyzed critically and great emphasis is placed on historical, cultural and literary interpretations of childhood. Contemporary Childhood Studies is also characterized by its insistence on the need for children themselves to be understood as the best informants of their own lives. Scholars therefore look at children’s own cultures, meanings and the ways in which they attempt to change their lives and the lives of adults around them. Whereas once children might have been seen as passive, dependent or incomplete, they are now seen by scholars as equal participants in society, differently competent to adults, but of interest for what they are now, not only what they will become. Children’s rights, and the changing relationship between parents and children, therefore are central to the field.
Childhood Studies is international and cross-cultural in scope, transcending narrow geographical confines and analyzing modern and historical childhoods both locally and globally. A great deal of this work has moved online with the most recent scholarship, research, and statistics appearing in online databases. With advances in online searching and database technologies, researchers and practitioners can easily access library catalogs, bibliographic indexes, and other lists that show thousands of resources that might also be useful to them. In this situation what is most needed is expert guidance. Researchers and practitioners at all levels need tools that help them filter through the proliferation of information sources to material that is reliable and directly relevant to their inquiries. Oxford Bibliographies in Childhood Studies will offer a trustworthy pathway through the thicket of information overload.
Editor in Chief
Heather Montgomery is Professor of Anthropology and Childhood at the Open University, UK. She is a social anthropologist who has focused on issues of childhood, commercial sexual exploitation, child abuse, and children’s rights. Her initial work was on commercially sexually exploited children in Thailand, published as Modern Babylon? Prostituting Children in Thailand (Berghahn: Oxford, 2001). She also writes more generally on the role of children in anthropology and history, examining how children and adolescents have been portrayed and analyzed in ethnographic monographs and historical accounts. An Introduction to Childhood: Anthropological Perspectives of Children’s Lives was published by Wiley-Blackwell in 2008. Her most recent book is a historical account of child abuse within the family in England from the medieval world to the present day. Familiar Violence: A History of Childhood Abuse will be published in February 2024 by Polity Press.
FORMER STANDING EDITORIAL BOARD
FOUNDING EDITORIAL BOARD
* = recently published
Concepts of Childhood
Disciplinary and theoretical approaches
Education and Learning
Family and Domestic Life
Feelings and Behaviors
Policies, Practices, and Interventions
Psychological and Physical Development
Regional Studies and Diversities
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