BARN8009 - Cultural Epistemologies of Childhood


Examination arrangement

Examination arrangement: Paper
Grade: Passed / Not Passed

Evaluation Weighting Duration Grade deviation Examination aids
Paper 100/100

Course content

This course examines the interface between cultural epistemologies of childhood and child development from an interdisciplinary perspective. Its point of departure is that knowledge and cultural practices of children, families, and communities are pivotal to how childhood is perceived and enacted by diverse educational and child welfare institutions. The course draws on recent debates on cultural practices in childhood studies that view intracultural and intergenerational relationships and the role of indigenous practices as resources for child development. It assesses how experiences of childhood embedded in, for example, multiculturalism, multilingualism, socially distributed caregiving, peer interaction, learning in everyday life settings as well as interdependence and reciprocity inform ideas of what it means to be young in the world today. Students will critically examine sites of local knowledge and cultural practices that need to be excavated/researched, opening the space to develop emic/indigenous perspectives that contest hegemonic theories of childhood. Topics include: children’s subjectivities and agency in familial, community, and intergenerational contexts; intersections of culture, gender, identity, ethnicity, and race in children's lived experiences; how everyday childhoods constitute and are constituted by working, playing, living, schooling, and learning; childhood and child-rearing practices in cross-cultural perspectives; local and global versions of childhood; children and social/economic/cultural reproduction, as well as critical perspectives (decolonial/southern/ postcolonial) that offer alternative lenses to theorizing diverse childhoods in a globalizing world.

Learning outcome

By the end of the course the student has achieved the following learning outcomes:


  • Has in-depth understanding of how children shape the social, cultural, political, economic and institutional contexts of their societies.
  • Can interrogate the interplay between local and global versions of childhoods by contesting hegemonic conceptions of what it means to be a child
  • Has advanced knowledge on the cultural politics of childhood and how changing social values on children shape the policies and practices of educational and welfare institutions.
  • Can appraise the connections between class, gender, geography, ethnicity, culture and child development to facilitate intersectional theorization of children’s lifeworld.
  • Can examine the knowledge and practices that families and communities deploy as part of child-rearing practices and how they are linked to wider cultural, moral, ideological, societal idea(l)s of what it means to be young in diverse contexts.


  • Can make an intersectional analysis of children’s life world
  • Can deconstruct hegemonic discourses of childhood and develop emic perspectives linked to children’s subjectivities and identities.
  • Can make a reflexive analysis on the connection between childhood, culture and child development

General competence:

  • Has the ability to question implicit and taken-for-granted assumptions regarding what it means to be a child.
  • Has developed interdisciplinary and intersectional analysis of childhood

Learning methods and activities

Plenary lectures, interactive seminars, presentations, and discussions including use of internet resources. Students are encouraged to identify and critically engage with readings that are relevant to the course and their research paper. Student will among other things have a special responsibility to read, summarize,present and comment on text from syllabus.

Compulsory assignments

  • Participation in class and course activities. 

Further on evaluation

Approved paper (10-12 pages) within the remit of the course content. Papers will be evaluated as Pass/Fail.

Compulsory activities

Participation in class and course activities. 

An identical version of the exam paper cannot be used directly in the PhD thesis as an article or a chapter. A revised version of the exam paper may be included in the thesis.

Required previous knowledge

Master's degree in social sciences, educational sciences, humanities or equivalent.

PhD students are prioritized for admission.

The course is offered when teaching resources are available and can be changed or cancelled if less than 5 PhD candidates are registered. The course can be taken as a ‘researcher course’ and is open to qualified researchers who have relevant experience and background.

Maximum: 12 PhD candidates/researchers.

The number of places is limited and the first-com principle applies.

Course materials

Pensum 600 pages plus about 200 pages of self-selected literature.

Credit reductions

Course code Reduction From To
BARN8101 3.0 AUTUMN 2022
More on the course



Version: 1
Credits:  10.0 SP
Study level: Doctoral degree level


Term no.: 1
Teaching semester:  AUTUMN 2024

Language of instruction: English, Norwegian

Location: Trondheim

Subject area(s)
  • Childhood Studies
  • Inter-disciplinary child research
  • Social Sciences
Contact information
Course coordinator:

Department with academic responsibility
Department of Education and Lifelong Learning


Examination arrangement: Paper

Term Status code Evaluation Weighting Examination aids Date Time Examination system Room *
Autumn ORD Paper 100/100 INSPERA
Room Building Number of candidates
  • * The location (room) for a written examination is published 3 days before examination date. If more than one room is listed, you will find your room at Studentweb.

For more information regarding registration for examination and examination procedures, see "Innsida - Exams"

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