Caring Complexities: Theories and Methods for Researching Children and Care

  • Date: Tuesday 26 September 2017
  • Time: 12.00-1.30pm
  • Location: The Coach House, School of Education, University of Leeds.
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Dr Sarah Eldén, University of Lund

Care is an important part of children’s personal life and relationships and in recent decades, children’s active part in the doing of care has been recognized. However, care is a complex phenomenon consisting of multiple dimensions; of an inseparable mix of activities, ‘labour’, emotions, discourses and relationships.

To capture ‘care-doings’ around children without falling back on easy categorizations such as ‘care for/care about’, or ‘provider/receiver’, a rethinking of theoretical as well as methodological tools is necessary.

In this paper I present and discuss my own attempts to research children and care in different settings (children’s narratives of care beyond the nuclear family, and children’s narratives of nanny and au pair care), through using innovative methodological tools such as ‘draw-your-day’ exercises and concentric circles. I suggest that concepts such as ordinary complexities of care, and, most importantly, Jennifer Mason’s (1996) concepts of care as sentient activity and active sensibility, enable us to move beyond simple dichotomies and fully acknowledge the relational doings of care in children’s lives.

This event has been jointly organized by the Leeds Centre for Interdisciplinary Childhood and Youth Research (LCYR) and the Centre for Research on Families, Lifecourse and Generations (FLAG).

A sandwich lunch will be available. If you would like to attend, and if you have any dietary requirements, please contact Dr. Hayley Davies – h.m.davies@leeds.ac.uk