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This book examines shifts in the conceptualisation and government of childhood in the West from the early modern period to the present. The book deals with three key time-periods, examining changes in conceptions of childhood and child-rearing between the sixteenth and late eighteenth century; between the late eighteenth century and the mid/late twentieth century and the period from the late twentieth century to the present. The overarching framework is drawn from the Foucauldian governmentality literature and from the work of Chris Jenks on the Dionysian/Apollonian images of childhood. Building on Jenks’ work a third image of childhood– the Athenian child - is used to represent a mode of exercising power over children predicated on children’s capacity for agency and reflexivity. These three discursive images provide elegant tools for exploring shifts in the exercise of power over children. In this book these images are used to represent three different models of child-adult relations in a way which foregrounds relations of power/knowledge.
Smith, K. M. (2014).Chapter Abstracts, The Government of Childhood: Discourse, Power and Subjectivity. Palgrave Macmillan.