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”.
Four important themes in our research
• Children and young people: health, well-being and quality of life
• Children’s social interaction and social relations, emotions and embodiment
• The child, the state and the market in time and space
• The visual and material culture of children and childhood