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    The politics of life: governing childhood

    Wells, Karen (2011) The politics of life: governing childhood. Global Studies of Childhood 1 (1), pp. 15-25. ISSN 2043-6106.

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    This article uses Foucault's analysis of bio-politics to explore continuities between child-saving and child rights and the connection of both to the racial governing of childhood. It shows how the birth of the modern idea of childhood coincided with shifts in governance from sovereignty to bio-politics, or a politics of life. This shift was the ground on which new practices of philanthropic concern acted on the child to produce new ideas about the child's special capacities and vulnerabilities. These novel practices of governance generated new forms of resistance and new sites of struggle. One strand of these new forms of resistance was the assertion of rights to health, welfare and life. It is in the context of struggles over these new kinds of rights, rather than an older conception of political rights, that the shift to the figure of the rights-bearing child should be understood. The shift from sovereignty to bio-politics was also central to the production of sex/sexuality and race as the truth of the modern subject, and the child appeared as a key figure in these new discursive constructions.


    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences
    Research Centres and Institutes: Gender and Sexuality, Birkbeck (BiGS), Social Research, Birkbeck Institute for (BISR)
    Depositing User: Sarah Hall
    Date Deposited: 05 Apr 2013 15:36
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:02


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