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Title: Childhood and the politics of scale: Descaling children's geographies?
Authors: Ansell, N
Keywords: Children;Culture/nature;Embodiment;Flat ontology;Materiality;Scale
Issue Date: 2009
Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd
Citation: Progress in Human Geography, 33(2), 190 - 209, 2009
Abstract: The past decade has witnessed a resurgence of interest in the geographies of children's lives, and particularly in engaging the voices and activities of young people in geographical research. Much of this growing body of scholarship is characterized by a very parochial locus of interest — the neighbourhood, playground, shopping mall or journey to school. In this paper I explore some of the roots of children's geographies' preoccupation with the micro-scale and argue that it limits the relevance of research, both politically and to other areas of geography. In order to widen the scope of children's geographies, some scholars have engaged with developments in the theorization of scale. I present these arguments but also point to their limitations. As an alternative, I propose that the notion of a flat ontology might help overcome some difficulties around scalar thinking, and provide a useful means of conceptualizing sociospatiality in material and non-hierarchical terms. Bringing together flat ontology and work in children's geographies on embodied subjectivity, I argue that it is important to examine the nature and limits of children's spaces of perception and action. While these spaces are not simply `local', they seldom afford children opportunities to comment on, or intervene in, the events, processes and decisions that shape their own lives. The implications for the substance and method of children's geographies and for geographical work on scale are considered.
Description: This is the post-print version of the final published paper that is available from the link below. Copyright @ 2008 SAGE Publications.
ISSN: 0309-1325
Appears in Collections:Human Geography
Social Work
Dept of Clinical Sciences Research Papers

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