Chapter 3. Disrupting Dominant Constructions
← 28 | 29 →Chapter 3
Constructivist and critical scholars suggest that the notion of child does not represent a universal human truth, but rather it is a category created through language and discourse that actually serves to limit and control the lives of those who are younger. Within postmodern and critical (Agger, 1991; McCarthy, 1991; Poster, 1989) research paradigms, the notion that younger human beings represent a separate and unique human condition called childhood has been examined and critiqued as producing power for one group of human beings over another (Cannella, 1997). Feminist poststructuralism has provided a lens through which these power relations can be exposed and deconstructed.
Emerging largely from both the enlightenment and modernist periods is the notion that younger human beings embody a separate human condition called childhood. In Western culture, childhood is typically ← 29 | 30 →viewed as a human state that we all experience and see as recognizably different from adulthood. Most people living in the United States view children as separate from adults and as part of a distinct group who are to be controlled, protected, and guided toward a more independent and competent self. By creating a body of human beings who must have decisions made for them and their actions carefully observed and monitored, we have constructed a group that is marginalized, belittled, and silenced and who are not deemed able or mature enough to create themselves (Cannella, 1997).
Early childhood teachers recognize that within enlightenment and modernist discourses, the concept of child has...
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