Children are significant research subjects as they mirror social contexts where they belong and re-elaborate their experience to become agents of change. What can we learn about our discipline, our society and our future by engaging with children in different set ups?
Children are potent research subjects for their social role and the questions that research on youth impinge on the academic subject that studies them. Understanding children is not a linear task and leads to a variety of epistemological questions. They can be seen as mirrors of the daily lives they experience: families, schools/national curricula, youth culture and a variety of institutions and social environments are to be taken into account when carrying out research on children. On the other hand it is important to consider the agency they enact when they describe their own opinions and engage with school, family, friends and social networks. We are thus interested in understanding children as research subjects but mostly as citizens-to-be. Children hold a great power over society's future and in many societies important resources are put in projects that concern youth for this very reason.
We believe it is urgent to analyse the role of youth critical thinking and would like to stimulate a discussion on different forms of analysis about, with and for children. The anthropology of children is an extremely interesting example of the role of social science; it can be seen as critical and at the same time a potentially effective agent of social change.
This panel is open to projects that consider children, their social persona and roles. We welcome papers about children in education, family, friendship and different social networks which engage in participatory projects, children research, cultural studies, art and/or ethnographic work.