Child as method: implications for decolonising educational research

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This paper advances an approach, 'child as method', as a resource for interrogating models of development in childhood and education. Chen's (2010) book Asia as method has generated interest across childhood and educational studies. Here ‘child as method’ is presented as a related intervention. Just as Asia as method (re)considers the status of the national and transnational, so ‘child as method’ helps explicate the ways 'child' and 'development' are linked across economic, sociocultural and individual trajectories. The example of translation is discussed in relation to sociocultural approaches and how together these might inform childhood and educational studies debates. The notion of 'method' at work (as framework, technique or narrative) is also clarified as informed by feminist and decolonization approaches. It is argued that ‘child as method’ offers strategies for resisting abstraction and remaining attentive to forces and relations of (re)production at issue within adult-child and child-state-development relations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4-26
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Studies in Sociology of Education
Issue number1
Early online date29 Jan 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • postcolonial childhood studies
  • pedagogies of decoloization
  • Asia as method
  • translation
  • Sociocultural theory


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