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Thursday 25 March 2021 11.00 - 12.15
H-5 EDU05 Civilizing Children in Play and Parenting. Affects and Materiality during the Years of the Cold War
H
Network: Education and Childhood Chair: Ólöf Garðarsdóttir
Organizer: Ning de Coninck-Smith Discussants: -
Moderators: -
Deniz Arzuk : Acceptable Loss? Discourses on the Disappearance of Childhood in the 1980s and 1990s
In the last quarter of the 20th Century, the disappearance of childhood “as we know it” had been a recurring theme in several articles published in popular Turkish and British national newspapers. These pieces defined an appropriate and idealised version of childhood, which was feared to had been lost. Based ... (Show more)
In the last quarter of the 20th Century, the disappearance of childhood “as we know it” had been a recurring theme in several articles published in popular Turkish and British national newspapers. These pieces defined an appropriate and idealised version of childhood, which was feared to had been lost. Based on a comparative reading of these articles, this paper will raise several questions about the changing conceptualisations of childhood in this period. The paper is the first output of the European Commission funded MSCA project CHIBRIT “Is There No Such Thing As Childhood? New Childhoods in Britain and Turkey between 1976 and 1997.” (Show less)

Oana Maria Cojocaru : Children in Byzantium: Recovering Lost Voices
Half of the population of the Byzantine Empire was made up of children, one of the most marginalized social groups throughout history. Yet, children of the past have been constantly neglected as a subject of research, their experiences being made invisible time and time again by our oversight. During the ... (Show more)
Half of the population of the Byzantine Empire was made up of children, one of the most marginalized social groups throughout history. Yet, children of the past have been constantly neglected as a subject of research, their experiences being made invisible time and time again by our oversight. During the last three decades, however, historical childhood has started to be regarded as a worthwhile object of research, although little has been done with regard to how the Byzantines perceived this crucial stage of life, and even less with regard to children’s own lived experiences and agency.
Unlike previous research that viewed children as cogs in the machine of society and institutions, with little concern for what being a child was like, my paper brings to the fore children’s agency and the way they contributed to their own socialization process. In this, it offers an approach to recovering the experiences of being a child, their everyday life, and their agency by using an emic (“from the inside”) approach as a tool of capturing the sense of children’s agency and seeing the Byzantine world through children’s eyes.
In order to do so, I am proposing an innovative approach (which I argue can help historians recover a sense of agency for people in the past who left few traces of their own): writing historically-informed and thoroughly referenced creative nonfiction vignettes of children who are representative for the various life experiences (in this case, a lower-class boy starting his novitiate in a monastery and a middle-class girl going about her day). (Show less)

Ning de Coninck-Smith, Ellen Schrumpf : Civilizing Children in Play and Parenting. Affects and Materiality during the Years of the Cold War
Civilizing children in play and parenting. Affects and materiality during the years of the Cold War.
Two connecting papers by Ning de Coninck-Smith and Ellen Schrumpf

University of South-Eastern Norway
University of Aarhus

During the last Century, the Western child has been brought up to become an individualized, democratic welfare state citizen, and ... (Show more)
Civilizing children in play and parenting. Affects and materiality during the years of the Cold War.
Two connecting papers by Ning de Coninck-Smith and Ellen Schrumpf

University of South-Eastern Norway
University of Aarhus

During the last Century, the Western child has been brought up to become an individualized, democratic welfare state citizen, and childhood as well as children have moved to the center of public and private attention (Aries 1980, Heywood 1995, Schrumpf 2007, Sandin 1986, de Coninck-Smith, 2018) In this paper, we focus on two power- full phenomenon and institutions, which have had major influence on children’s upbringing, namely play and parenthood. According to shifting ideologies, values and perspectives of the ideal childhood the paper analyzes the relationship between play, parenting and education and how children was educated emotionally - from within – and materially in play and playgrounds - from without (Frykman og Löfgren 1994, Zelizer 1994).
In this paper, education is understood in its broadest sense, covering the civilization of children’s bodies, spaces, time and souls. (Elias 1994) We aim to elaborate two different approaches to education in play/playground and parenthood/parenting, namely the affective and material approach. The purpose of the paper is to answer the following questions:
How have children been educated within the frames of parenthood and play/playgrounds in a context of changing emotional and material values and discourses? Do the two different settings mirror or differ from each other, could there be different understanding of the world of boys and girls, poor and middle class children?
Taking the years around WW2 as our point of departure, we want to inscribe parenting and play into the wider changes of childhood at a time, when religious and medical ideals were replaced with democratic and liberal ideals. During the years of the cold war, children were educated into the Nordic welfare state? and to a growing degree consumer society. Despite Nordic childhood is frequently seen as something special, the paper argues, that Nordic childhood underwent a process of Americanization due to a growing knowledge and awareness of US developmental psychology, suburban development and way of life. This meant between many thing, that children’s rooms became a new norm, that boys and girls should no longer sleep together, that little children should no longer vegetate in their cots, and that the playful child replaced former times industrious children.
The ideas were not applicated 1:1, they were discussed and translated though meetings, conferences, journals and personal networks. A case in point were the relations between the Norwegian psychologist Asa Gruda Skard, the Swedish reformer Alva Myrdal and the Danish school psychologist Anne Marie Nørvig. They translated each other’s books, cited them in their own works and invited each other to give talks. It was knowledge circulation for the sake of the child and its parents.
In our two cases, we will look for, how the new ideas about a democratic, liberal and consuming childhood were played out in parental advice books, practiced in parenting and in the designing of playing spaces. Taking our examples from Norway and Danmark opens up an opportunity to discuss path dependency within ideas about how to raise children, since Norway being a later urbanized and modernized country than Denmark e.g. ( Andresen et al., 2011) We are curious to know, if the debate about pocket money played out differently in the two countries – as well as the amount of toys, children ‘should’ have. We would also like to know, what happened to the 19th century view of the family as an intimate and quasi-sacred space, and as a heaven of sincere affection and authentic feeling (Frevert 2011), when mothers entered the labor force.
We will look into how the new ideas were turned into practice and how and/or if they challenged conventional wisdom about the good childhood. To mothers who did not (yet) own a washing machine, children playing with dirt were not necessarily appealing, nor the fact that early pot-training, a help to the mother with many children, was something of yesterday. To this purpose we will study letters from the readers of parental magazines of the time.
The preliminary title of Ellen Schrumps paper is:
Bringing up children in post WW2 Norway. Joys and sorrow in parental magazines.
The preliminary title of Ning de Coninck-Smiths paper is:
Democratic spaces. Designing spaces for play in post WW2 Denmark. (Show less)

Mary Clare Martin : Multi-Cultural Toys and Play in Europe and Beyond, 1800-1900
This paper will analyse the incidence and use of “multi-cultural toys” and “multi-cultural play” from an historical perspective, before briefly identifying the relevance of the topic to the present. It will first debate the contested meaning of the terms “multi-cultural toys” and “multi-cultural play” in a nineteenth century context, ... (Show more)
This paper will analyse the incidence and use of “multi-cultural toys” and “multi-cultural play” from an historical perspective, before briefly identifying the relevance of the topic to the present. It will first debate the contested meaning of the terms “multi-cultural toys” and “multi-cultural play” in a nineteenth century context, with reference to the forces of imperialism and colonisation, and recent research on material culture. It will then discuss children’s experiences of imaginative play in different locations, and the social influences which shaped the nature of that play. The next section will identify the different categories of toys which are both universal and regionally- and chronologically specific, including dolls, moving objects, construction toys, natural objects, and noise makers, and focus on specific examples of their use. Overall, the paper will consider the tensions between issues of children’s agency and autonomy in shaping their play environments, the extent to which adults controlled the resources, time and space available for play, and the role of colonisation, migration and imperialism in these processes. (Show less)



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