Conceptualizations of Childhood, Pedagogy and Educational Research in the Postmodern
A Critical Interpretation
In the last fifty years, a debate between modernism and postmodernism has surfaced within the social sciences. Epistemologically, there has been a shift away from the concept of a "e;found"e; world, "e;out there,"e; objective, knowable and factual, towards a concept of "e;constructed"e; worlds, thus problematizing postulates based upon the autonomous, stable, unified, coherent and integrated subject capable of rational action, and opening up spaces for a new understanding of subjectivity based on provisionality and contingency. From the ashes of these tendencies for fragmentation have arisen the new sociology of childhood and new directions in pedagogy and research, creating spaces for constructing notions of children and childhood. The emergent child has an active agency, allowing the construction of a more dynamic child, located in a multiplicity of domains, opening up spaces for more flexible pedagogies and new sensibilities in educational research. Originating from a critical reading of texts in the area of childhood, pedagogy and educational research within the modern and the postmodern, this book extracts, appropriates and integrates parallel, but socially constructed, discourses across disciplines such as the sociology of childhood, the sociology of knowledge and the sociology of education. The book constructs conceptions of childhood both historically and within the modernist/postmodernist paradigm, and documents the implications of the paradigmatic shift from modernity to postmodernity for the study of childhood, as well as pedagogical practices and educational research.