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International colloquium Childhood and cultures: social and human sciences perspectives

15th of December 2010: Plenary sessions, Quai Branly Museum, Paris
16th-17th of December 2010: Workshops, Paris-Descartes University

The encounter of two "small" scientific contents/objects/topics

For a long time childhood on one side, culture on the other have been confined to the fringes of social sciences and their encounter for even more. Is it serious to consider Barbie and other Pokemons? Does children' discourse on museums or books have any interest in order to understand the selecting mechanisms of cultural tastes and distastes?

Recently, the two scientific fields -childhood and culture- were worked out by some important regroundings : revision of age classification and studies about the child as a performer on one hand, revision of the concepts of amateur, individual and homogeneity of individual tendencies on the other, plus the taking into account of networks dynamics. Those mutations ask for a cross-estimation of research topics in terms of thematic, epistemology and methodology.

Five main directions are intended:

  • The relations to practices, to cultural objects and products, and the connections they induce: should we speak of cultural practices or consumption? How to analyze the cultures of children: what are they made of and by who ?
  • The analysis of the relation to the objects of culture deserves to be considered in its connexion to space (bedroom culture) and body, as well as in terms of skills and abilities.
  • The concept of age: should we conceive it as a category or as a process? Are the questions related to a "life-period" transferable (to which extent) or specific?
  • Questions of method, epistemology and ethics. The status of minor implies a particular attention to methods, tools and concepts as well as to potential effects of the research on children. Is inventiveness inherent to works about the youngest or is their specificity over-rated?
  • The explanatory factors: Is childhood a time when new explanatory factors of variations in the relations to leisure and culture come up or does it show already existing combinations of social origin, gender, etc... whose modes have to be accurately described ?

In order to foster exchanges and cross-overs, the international symposium, organised jointly by the Département des études, de la prospective et des statistiques (Ministère de la culture et de la communication) and the Association internationale des sociologues de langue française (comité de recherche 31 Sociologie de l'enfance), is open to various social sciences. This symposium is part of the work program of the AISLF's CR Sociologie de l'enfance and constitute their 9th working sessions.

Scientific Committee
The scientific Committee is composed of:

Gilles BROUGERE, Paris 13 University, France
Philippe CHANTEPIE, Ministry of Culture and Communication, France
Christine DETREZ, Ecole normale supérieure de Lyon, France
Hervé GLEVAREC, Centre national de la recherche scientifique, France
Ana NUNES D'ALMEIDA, Lisbon University, Portugal
Sylvie OCTOBRE, Ministry of Culture and Communication, France
Dominique PASQUIER, Centre national de la recherche scientifique, France
Régine SIROTA, Paris Descartes University, France


Organisational Committee
The organisational Committee is composed of:

Philippe CHANTEPIE, Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication , France
Sylvie OCTOBRE, Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication , France
Anna-Michèle SCHNEIDER, Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication , France
Régine SIROTA, Université Paris Descartes , France