‘On Being Young’

Anthro Quarterly

Published: Wednesday 1 September, 2004



I want to suggest that there are three key areas of theoretical difficulty: how to theorise children’s agency, how to theorise their rights, and how to theorise the nature of the ‘child’ itself. These are not new theoretical questions. They are all interconnected, and they link to and underpin such diverse domains of enquiry as children and social policy, war trauma and child soldiers, cognitive development, language use, sexuality and labour. Our understanding of what it is to be young is thus rather like Italo Calvino’s crystal: formed out of the accretions and sedimentations that this strange fact draws to itself as a function of being part of our narratives. Narratives of what?, you might reasonably ask. Narratives about knowledge, value, risk, and morality, I suggest, and these are all ultimately narratives about culture and the nature of society.

Moore, Henrietta L. (2004). On being young. Anthropological Quarterly, Vol. 77(4), pp. 735-746.

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