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EDUC211 The Institutions of Childhood

A critical examination of the ways in which political, cultural and educational contexts shape the institutions of childhood for young children.

What is childhood? How does culture influence what we mean by child, childhood, and its institutions?  Are children citizens, with rights? How would we know? In what ways are institutions of modernity implicated in constructing childhood and children?  And what educational, human, political and ethical issues arise?

In this paper you will explore the production of childhood and children as thoroughly modern construction asking questions of how we produce our youngest citizens and police their lives.  Using tools key to childhood studies, we will examine the phenomenon of childhood and consider the people implicated with it as well as their well-being.  This paper will appeal if you are interested in issues related to childhood and children in Aotearoa New Zealand and internationally.

Paper title The Institutions of Childhood
Paper code EDUC211
Subject Education
EFTS 0.1500
Points 18 points 18 points
Teaching period(s) First Semester, First Semester
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $846.30
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $3,766.35

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EDUC 101 or EDUC 102 or 108 points
Schedule C
Arts and Music
With approval, students who have passed EDUC 105 prior to 2017 may be admitted without the normal prerequisite.

To be confirmed

Teaching staff

Paper Coordinator: To be confirmed
Other staff: Dr Alex Gunn (Dunedin); Dr Michael Gaffney (Dunedin); Meredith Kelly (Southland)

Recommended Text:
Higgins, N. & Freeman, C. (Eds.) (2013) Childhoods: Growing up in Aotearoa New Zealand. NZ: University of Otago Press.
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Information literacy, Research, Self-motivation.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

Students will be able to:

  1. Understand the changing context of rearing, caring and educating young children in New Zealand and international settings.
  2. Appraise the politics of ideology in shaping and transforming the institutions of childhood both within and outside of the family.
  3. Investigate current theories of learning and development and controversial issues impacting on the experience of children within the institutions of childhood.

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First Semester

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Tuesday 09:00-09:50 9-16, 18-19, 22


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Tuesday 10:00-11:50 9-16, 18-19, 22

First Semester

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system