Professorship of Theories and Methods of Childhood Studies

Organisational unit: Section

Organisation profile

In everyday life, children are seen primarily as beings in need of education and learning who naturally lack experience and knowledge. However, this not only underestimates the practical achievements that children contribute to the maintenance of everyday order, but also hides essential aspects of the social organization of childhood.
In contrast, we essentially understand children as an age group characterized by social inequalities, who are assigned fewer rights, duties, and resources compared to others (primarily adults, but also older children or adolescents) – regardless of the actual contributions children perform in everyday life.
As a category of social inequality, childhood cannot be thought of in a homogeneous way, neither historically nor globally, but remains bound to socially varying structures of growing up. Accordingly, childhood is understood as a highly institutionalized life phase, whose definition and shaping by school, family, and expert entrepreneurships structure the objective chances for future life courses of young people, but which also make up a central element of social order in general.
Hence, our focus is the social organization of childhood by its respective institutions (especially professions) as well as the resulting consequences for involved groups of actors, foremost the children themselves. Our research is concerned with the degree to which children are taken into account in child protection, by the knowledge about children that is collected (or lacking) and made available and used (for example, about their experiences of violence and in the pandemic), and by the spatial-material structuring of childhoods.

Most downloaded publications

View all »