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Internationalization of child- and childhood research


The ambition to strengthen the internationalization of child and childhood research, through Ph D exchange, corresponds to ongoing global changes in the contemporary childhoods and life conditions of children around the world. An internationalization of the research agenda is justified and motivated with several reasons.


Children’s rights and the UNCRC



Research in child and childhood studies on the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is not possible without an international perspective. Children’s rights are increasingly taken into consideration in the development of social policy and welfare, on both the nation-state and the global level, with the ambition to increase children’s participation and democratic influence. However, the meanings of children’s rights and “children’s best interests” are constantly challenged and negotiated by involved state authorities, NGOs and local agents, and the interpretations between and within nation-states are diverse and contradictory. Increasingly, in ethical discourse and political science research, children’s status as political and moral subjects is discussed. The globalization of children’s consumption and the marketization of childhood shape and affect children’s childhoods of today, pointing out tensions between a more uniform international understanding and locally negotiated more complex ones. Research on the visual material culture of childhood, demonstrates how globalization of childhood are linked to the availability of goods and consumption on the market and how brand distinction creates new hierarchies and inequalities that transcend national borders and geographic distance. Access to social media is yet another component in the globalization of childhood, contributing to new patterns of socialization which can be either risky and problematic or advantageous for children and their parents, depending on the situation. Research on global childhoods comprises many other areas of research, such as children’s health and illness, children, childhood and migration, etc., which all in different ways epitomize how the interdisciplinary endeavors in child and childhood studies must be built on a clear and strong international agenda.


Marketization of childhood



Globalization of child consumption



Visual material culture of childhood



Social media


An increased international approach in research projects will enhance and strengthen the research field. The objectives of the proposed collaboration – to increase the exposure to international approaches in PhD curricula and to enable time and space for researchers and PhD students in the field to discuss international aspects of their research issues and to plan for comparative research and writing projects – will underpin such development.

In the longer term, we anticipate that the international exposure for PhD students and faculty will enhance an overall awareness of global aspects in the study of children and childhood. Furthermore, we expect that this project will stimulate the planning and conducting of comparative studies. The development of joint research projects will ensure that an international cooperation can be sustained in the long term once the project is completed. Such comparative research may, with the aid of faculty at the two campuses, involve not only comparisons between the US and Sweden but also between other countries, from both Europe and the majority world.

We also anticipate that the proposed project will bring about an increased research standard with an improved capacity to define distinct and important research challenges, as well as an increase in the co-publication of articles and books. Finally, and most importantly, it will result in original and ground-breaking knowledge of relevance in the understanding and addressing of global issues and social problems of children and childhood.



Professor, Child studies, LiU
Karin Zetterqvist Nelson
E-post:  karin.zetterqvist.nelson@liu.se

Professor, Childhood Studies, RuC
Lynne Vallone
E-post: vallone@camden.rutgers.edu

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Senast uppdaterad: Fri Mar 20 16:28:23 CET 2015