Beyond the competent child
- Exploring contemporary childhoods in the Nordic welfare societiesaf Jesper Olesen, Jan Kampmann, Helene Brembeck, Barbro Johansson, Mirja Satka, Gudny Björk Eydal, Anne Trine Kjørholt, Hilde Lidén, Elina Makkonen, Niels Kryger, Jakob Wenzer, Tomas Ellegaard, Thomas Gitz-Johansen, Viveka Berggren Torell, Timo Harrikari
The Nordic child is often considered competent: as a family member, a pupil, a consumer or a citizen. Looking more in depth, one finds that the idea of the competent child is intimately linked to the modern project and to ideas of children as rational "beings"; children in their own right. What, then, are the implications for the present time with its constant questioning of the mere concept of modernity? Is "the competent child" a proper tool for understanding children in a fragile, porous world order? Does it create a false understanding of the state of the world, of the child, of childhood and of generational structures? Could it even be a hindrance as far as the viewing of children as proper humans is concerned? Maybe it is time for a new understanding, beyond the competent child? This book is the result of an intense debate within the NordBarn research network, funded by the Nordic Research Academy for five years.. The contributors are researchers from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, representing several disciplines, such as pedagogics, social work, ethnology and media studies. The book consists of four parts focusing on child policies and child participation, school and day care, market and consumption, and finally an attempt to rethink the concept of becoming-child in the new millennium. The book addresses childhood researchers and their university level students throughout the Nordic countries, as well as in other parts of the world. The aim is to contribute to a more general international debate on the fundamental shifts that our understanding of children and childhood are at present undergoing.. The Nordic case has a lot to contribute to the understanding of childhood and childhood concepts in other parts of the world.