Naturally not! Childhood, the urban and romanticism

Jones, O (2002) 'Naturally not! Childhood, the urban and romanticism.' Human Ecology Review, 9 (2). pp. 17-30. ISSN 1074-4827

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The aim of this paper is to explore the idea that in the UK ‘the urban’ can be constructed as an intrinsically unsuit-able space for childhood. My suggestion is that romantic constructions of ‘nature’,‘childhood’, the ‘rural’ and the ‘urban’ remain active symbolic legacies within contemporary culture and these can make the presence of the ‘natural child’ in the ‘unnatural urban’ problematic. The rural and the urban are markedly differentiated spaces both materially and symbolically, and account must be taken of that, but these spaces are also constructed as single symbolic spaces in broad but nonetheless powerful ways. This does have implications for childhood in both urban and rural areas, particularly through the ways adults see, judge and direct children. Childhood also has to be seen as a differentiated category, but again there are deeply imbedded assumptions about ‘what a child is’ that will have effects across that differentiation. Dimensions of class, gender and ethnicity are considered because these appear to bring differing trajectories to the central narrative attempted here. I end with some thoughts on reconfiguring childhood-urban symbolic relations into a more positive form.

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Divisions: School of Sciences
Date Deposited: 22 May 2015 12:36
Last Modified: 15 Aug 2021 09:40
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