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Conceptions of childhood in terms of ‘evil’ and ‘innocence’ transcend time and culture. These conflicting images are deployed by Chris Jenks as the Dionysian and Apollonian models of childhood to symbolize external and internal forms of control. Drawing on the literature on governmentality this paper revisits these models and introduces a third model, the ‘Athenian’ child, analogous and supplementary to those developed by Jenks. This model is necessary in order to take account of relatively recent strategies in the government of childhood, which, predicated on understandings of children in terms of competence and agency, operate via responsibility and reflexivity.
Smith, K. (2012) Producing Governable Subjects: Images of Childhood Old and New, Childhood, vol. 19, no. 1: pp. 24-37. doi:10.1177/0907568211401434