CFP: Childhood in the City (UK) (1/17/06; 8/30/06-9/1/06)

full name / name of organization: 
Kraftl Peter

Royal Geographical Society-Institute of British Geographers Annual International Conference 2006
'Global social justice and environmental sustainability'
30 August - 1st September 2006
at the Royal Geographical Society with IBG, London

Call for Papers:
Childhood in the City
Sponsored by Urban Geography Research Group


Convenors: John Horton, Owain Jones, Peter Kraftl and Faith Tucker


In his seminal text The Child in the City, published in 1978, Colin Ward sought to "explore the relationship between children and their urban environment" and to speculate "about the ways in which the link between city and child can be made more fruitful and enjoyable for the child and the city" (p.vii).

Nearly three decades on, this call remains deeply relevant and poignant in at least three senses.
First, because the everyday urban lives and milieus of children and young people have too-seldom registered as 'Proper' concerns of Urban Studies and Urban Geography. For example, childhood and youth is an absent presence in recently published anthologies of Urban Studies (Satterthwaite 1999, Bridge and Watson 2002a, 2002b, LeGates and Stout 2003, Miles and Hall 2003, Fyfe and Kenny 2005) while the 40 year index of Urban Studies journal lists only three papers about children (the last in 1998). The perspectives of children and young people are thus overwhelming absent in canonical understandings of cities in both Minority and Majority world contexts.

Second, because academic and policy research - including that carried out under the rubric of 'Children's Geographies' - which has foregrounded children and young people's urban experiences has too-often failed to engage, or contribute to, the broader concerns, approaches, theories and methods of contemporary Urban Studies. For instance, Children's Geographers have engaged little with a raft of recent major methodological and theoretical developments in urban geography which variously call for critical ethnographic, affective and (im)material urban geographies (Lees, 2002, 2003; Thrift, 2004; Latham and McCormack, 2004). The reverse is also true: urban geographers have engaged little with theoretical and methodological debates about children's and young people's geographies (Valentine, 1996; Matthews and Limb, 1999; Horton and Kraftl, 2005; Cloke and Jones, 2005). Child-centred perspectives have thus had a generally low profile in manifold contemporary debates about the live!
 ability, equity and complexities of urban geographies.

Third, because children and young people are at the heart of many contemporary - and, as yet, seldom thought through - urban experiences, debates and representations. At the heart of these under-theorised and under-researched debates are pressing issues of social justice in minority and majority world contexts. In a critical sense, then, the global commonalities and discordances between the varied urban experiences of children could extend debates about issues as diverse as participation, sustainability, exclusion and lifestyle.

In these contexts, this session will provide a forum for new collaborations and debates around the multiple geographies of childhood in the city. As a point of departure we would encourage research papers to be submitted on one or more of the following themes.

Social justice(s) and urban childhood(s)
Social exclusion(s) and urban childhood(s)
Critical-theoretical approaches to children, young people and the city
Children's urban geographies and globalisation
Childhood and the affective political spaces of urbanisation
Materialising children's urban geographies
Childhood and suburban geographies
Children, participation and urban geography
Childhood, youth and urban lifestyles
Children, nature and the city
Children, technology and the city
Critical debates for urban childhoods (anti-social behaviour, dispersal orders, homezones, children's play, fear of and for children, freedom, etc.)

Please submit abstracts for twenty minute presentation (Max. 200 words) to

John Horton
Centre for Children and Youth
Knowledge Exchange
The University of Northampton - Park Campus
Boughton Green Road

The deadline for abstract submissions is 17 Jan 2006.

Dr. Peter Kraftl
Centre for Children and Youth,
The University of Northampton,
Park Campus,
Telephone (direct line): 01604 892989
Fax: 01604 791114

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Received on Tue Dec 13 2005 - 08:39:06 EST