We live in uncertain times. The world is still dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic and it is already confronted with the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the inherent war. Its effects are devastating for those who directly live such a situation, but they also affect those who are distant and watch daily accounts and images of terror. Children are recognised and highlighted in this crisis as particularly vulnerable to separation and exploitation as they seek safety with or without their parents. Such a situation makes fear spread and become a norm. Uncertainty and fear influence deeply the ways we interact with children and the everyday lives of children who inherit wars founded on adult conflicts and desires. Discourses of risk and danger, unsafety, vulnerability and innocence have been amplified in contemporary constructions of childhood. It is true that many children live situations in which risks associated with war, violence, abuse, neglect, poverty, discrimination and social exclusion are part of their lived realities. Yet, many risk discourses are nowadays strongly based on normative and dominant assumptions of an ‘ideal’ childhood.
The I International Conference on Child Studies aims to problematise universal, normative, essentialist and paternalist views of childhood and to give visibility to work focusing on children’s worlds and lived realities in uncertain times. We welcome abstracts that address but are not limited to children rights, agency and voice; relationships among children, between children and adults and the intergenerational perspective; the intersectionality of childhoods underscored by race, ethnicity, gender, generation, religion and social class, and socio economic status; different childhoods living in diverse and unequal conditions, more and more visible through migration and refugees movements; the digital era and issues related to children’s access to and use of technology; curriculum and pedagogy in the early years in face of trends towards “back to basics” and lack of valorisation of physical activity, playing and, in general, outdoor activity for children; arts, creativity and childhood cultures; children’s literature both as an educational and research practice and as a children’s cultural right; education and professional development of childhood professionals, and children’s wellbeing in today’s turbulent times and research methodology in child studies. The plurality of approaches to said themes will enable wider and deeper knowledge of childhoods and of children, beyond normativity. Contrary to various hegemonic, economic, political and mediatic agendas, among others, which tend to standardise and essentialise childhoods and ‘difference’ in children lives, providing a blueprint of life, scientific research can play a role in illuminating both the plural and singular particularities and universalisms of children’s shifting worlds.
Welcome to the 1st ICCS
On behalf of the Organising Committee, we welcome you to the 1st International Conference on Child Studies at the University of Minho, in Braga, Portugal. The conference is co-organised by the Research Centre on Child Studies (CIEC), University of Minho, Portugal, and the Centre for the Study of Children and Childhood, University of Suffolk, UK.
The historic city of Braga is the gracious host of the conference. Braga is more than two thousand years old but with a dynamic and modern atmosphere. One of the most beautiful cities in Portugal, Braga is known for its Roman remains, its baroque churches and splendid 18th century houses. Whilst the old city is resplendent in its antiquity, industry and commerce have brought to it a vibrant life style, with its universities, modern neighbourhoods, bars and restaurants. While you are in Braga, take the opportunity to explore the city and its surroundings.
We look forward to your contribution and participation and we hope that the conference will provide stimulating discussions, cooperation and knowledge advancement.
On behalf of the Organising Committee, we cordially invite you to the I International Conference on Child Studies to be held at the University of Minho, Braga, Portugal, from 13 to 15 September 2022.