Thinking with Feeling: Children’s Emotional Orientations to Public Life

Aruldoss, Vinnarasan; Nolas, Sevasti-Melissa and Varvantakis, Christos. 2021. Thinking with Feeling: Children’s Emotional Orientations to Public Life. Childhood, 28(1), pp. 56-71. ISSN 0907-5682 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

The article explores how the concept of ‘emotional orientation’ helps us to reimagine the relationship between childhood and public life. By comparing a subset of two ethnographic biographies of underprivileged children, aged 6-8 years from contrasting neighbourhoods in Hyderabad, India, we illustrate the ways in which ‘emotional orientation’ could mediate and signify children’s experiences of public life. The analysis builds on the girls’ common experience of ‘scolding’ to map out the visceral aspects of poverty, local belonging, place sensitivity, power, and social inequality in their lives; the implications for their engagement with public life is noted throughout. Thinking with feeling, we argue, offers crucial insights for (re)imagining the relationship between childhood and public life, and children’s participation therein. In particular, the affective analysis provides the opportunity to tap into children’s political knowingness: a knowingness that eludes normative discourses of public life, but which nevertheless is a vital source of children’s everyday participation.

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emotion, orientation, childhood, public life, participation, India

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17 July 2020Accepted
26 August 2020Published Online
9 March 2021Published

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Date Deposited:

22 Jul 2020 08:58

Last Modified:

10 Jun 2021 14:32

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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