Child Studies (TEMAB)

We conduct critical interdisciplinary research and teaching about children and childhood. By combining a child perspective and children's perspective with high theoretical awareness and critical thinking, we are continually articulating new burning questions concerning children and childhood.

The mission of the Department of Thematic Studies – Child Studies is to provide an environment for research and education about children and young people that is socially relevant and interdisciplinary. We focus on lived experiences as well as social, political and material conditions. Through our research, we strive to make visible and analyse problems associated with how views on children and childhood vary with time and location, using contemporary, comparative and historical perspectives. 

We study children's and young people’s lives, conditions and agency in various social and cultural contexts, and through investigating the legislation and policies that regulate and circumscribe children. Through our interdisciplinary profile and critical perspective, we contribute to renewing and re-thinking research about children and childhood, both in Sweden and abroad.

Critical Child Studies

Through our research, we aim to question taken-for-granted values and norms relating to children and childhood. We accomplish this by conducting empirical studies, by creating understanding of children or proposing political changes for them. Right from the start, when Child Studies was established in the 1980s, a critical approach was central to how our research questions were formulated. During the 2000s, we established the concept of “critical child studies” as a vision. Today, Child Studies teaches courses in critical child studies for doctoral students, and this critical approach is fundamental to the courses taught in our international online master’s programme. Moreover, we conduct critical research on children and childhood, placing emphasis on questioning scientific theories that have become accepted and taken for granted within child and childhood research.

Child Studies 30 years: new perspectives, new pathways

In 2018, Child Studies celebrated 30 years of research drawing on a continuous flow of research topics and subjects. With 60 completed PhD theses about children and young people in practice and politics, and after several major research projects, we have established a critical approach to research on children and childhood. And we continue to ask how to think differently about children's worlds.

A venue for child and youth researchers

Our research is characterised by its interdisciplinary approach; for example, combining theories and methods from the social sciences and humanities. With 30 years of research experience behind us, Child Studies has become an increasingly unique research environment focusing on the living conditions of children in multiple settings.

It is a privilege to be a whole unit of researchers with a shared interest in children and childhood, and this makes us an important venue for both national and international researchers. Child Studies is home to professors, senior lecturers and PhD students. We also offer an international online master’s programme in Child Studies. We teach throughout the University in such areas as the teacher training programme and social work, and we teach single-subject courses: “Listening to children”.

Important themes in our research

  • Children and young people’s health and wellbeing
  • Children, family and parenthood
  • Children in preschool and school
  • Children, citizenship and children's rights
  • Children, the state and the market through time and space
  • Children and disabilities
  • Children, interaction, emotions and socialization
  • Children, culture and consumption


The students are on a break

International master’s students meet to discuss children’s issues

On the Master's Programme in Child Studies, students from different parts of the world participate remotely. During an intensive week on campus, they gather to exchange experiences and strengthen their sense of community.

Jonathan Josefsson och Branka Likic-Brboric at the conference GFMD.

The signs that reveal migration policies

Who has access to the meeting rooms? Who leaves when others enter? Who is talking to whom? This may reveal how the winds are blowing in migration policy at an international summit. And researchers from LiU are moving in the crowd to observe.

Children running on a field

Starting grants for research on child participation and public health

Two researchers from Linköping University have been awarded a total of nearly 6 million SEK by the Forte Research Council. The projects focus on investigative conversations with children and the governance of local public health work.

Email list 

 At Child studies, there is a mailing list for people who want to know what is happening at our division. For example. you get information about seminars, workshops and other events that are open to anyone who wants to participate. Send an email to and register your interest.

Research Themes at Child Studies

Statue of a child

Children and young people's health and wellbeing.

Our research concerns children and young people's perspectives and experiences of health and wellbeing, as well as changing definitions of children and young people’s health in professional and political contexts, historically and today.​

Family in playmobil

Children, family and parenthood

Our research concerns families’ everyday lives, norms and notions of parenthood and the best interest of the child, and the responsibilities of the welfare state. We study Swedish and global contexts through historical and contemporary perspectives.

Pencils and a ruler

Children in Preschool and School

Our focus is the lives and conditions of children and youth in preschool and school. We study, for example, interaction, multilingualism and emotions, the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people, and grading and assessment in school.


Children, Children's Rights and Citizenship

Children and youth are ascribed rights and demand rights. We study how children's rights are used and understood by different actors in different contexts. Our research highlights possibilities and challenges that rights and citizenship give rise to.

An old globe

The child, the state and the market in time and space

How do children affect the economy and society? How are childhoods in different national and global contexts shaped? We study political, social and economic change over time and space, putting children's lives and conditions at the very center.


Children and Disabilities

The focus of the children and disabilities area are the lives and conditions of children and youth, historically and today. Ongoing projects include the development of the autism diagnosis in Sweden and children's right to leisure.

A young boy playing with a camera

Children, Culture and Consumption

How do children participate in, and are made part of, different cultural and commercial practices? By focusing on contemporary and historical aspects, everyday visual, material and consumer cultural practices are examined.

 Two children sit on a bench

Children's social interaction and social relations, emotions and embodiment

Our research concerns children's moral and emotional socialization in families, preschools and schools. We study verbal and embodied practices that shape, for example, children's everyday conflicts, crying and laughter.

Seminar series at Child Studies

From children's social interactions to children's/families political, social and cultural importance in society 

The Department of Thematic Studies – Child Studies is united by an active seminar series that is common to all researchers in the division. The seminars engage with current research on a wide range of topics: from the social interactions of children to the political and social significance of children in society. We also invite guest speakers from among researchers with relevance to the field of research on children and young people.

For more information and to register for participation, contact Mats Andrén,

PhD Programme


Latest publications


Asta Čekaitė, Madeleine Wirzén (2024) Social and Emotional Functions of Institutional Touch in the Relational Care of Young Children Child & Family Social Work Continue to DOI
Olga Anatoli (2024) Swedish-English preschool as a site for the collaborative discovery of bilingual meanings Journal of Early Childhood Education Research, Vol. 13, p. 92-121 Continue to DOI
Maria Simonsson, Asta Čekaitė (2024) Den guidade leken som resurs Svenska som andraspråk i praktiken, p. 113-134
Lina Lago, Helene Elvstrand (2024) Frihet, frivillighet och styrning: Elevers friutrymme i fritidshem Fritidsdidaktiska dilemman, p. 39-61
Annika Manni, Johanna Annerbäck, Håkan Löfgren, F. Mårtensson, A. Fröberg (2024) Places, spaces and encounters with nature - socio-material discourses in Swedish preschools International Journal of Early Years Education Continue to DOI
Jonathan Josefsson (2024) Theorizing Child Migration: Experiences, Governance, Normativity The Bloomsbury Handbook of Theories in Childhood Studies, p. 338-348
Judith Lind, Anette Wickström (2024) Representations of mental health and mental health problems in content published by female social media influencers International journal of cultural studies, Vol. 27, p. 217-233 Continue to DOI
Anna Sparrman (2024) Barns och ungas fria kulturliv Pedagogik för kulturskolan, p. 57-78
Johanna Sköld, Bengt Sandin, Johanna Schiratzki (2024) Redressing or Excusing the Past?: The Evaluation of Sexual Child Abuse in the Swedish Redress Scheme for Historical Abuse in Out-of-Home Care Lived Institutions as History of Experience, p. 317-342 Continue to DOI
Katie Wright, Johanna Sköld, Malin Arvidsson, Shurlee Swain, Sari Braithwaite (2024) Adults Claiming Child Rights: Activism, Temporality and Abuse in Childhood Childhood, Youth and Activism: Demands for Rights and Justice from Young People and their Advocates, p. 37-54 Continue to DOI

Contacts and staff at Child Studies

Management team