Thinking about childhood : being and becoming in the world

Cassidy, Claire and Mohr Lone, Jana (2020) Thinking about childhood : being and becoming in the world. Analytic Teaching and Philosophical Praxis, 40 (1). pp. 16-26. ISSN 0890-5118

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Traditionally childhood has been viewed primarily or even solely as a time of preparation for adulthood. The adult/child binary has dominated, with children seen as “becomings” – that is, as in the process of becoming fully human – and adults seen as “beings,” as stable and complete human beings. Among other things, this binary contributes to the epistemic injustice children experience. Recently, however, the binary has begun to be questioned, and the notion of children and adults in a shared state of both being and becoming is gaining influence. In this article, drawing on philosophical dialogues with children and their understanding of the concepts of “child” and “childhood,” we suggest that interrogating the adult/child binary might support an alternative way of being and becoming in the world, for both adults and children.