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Is There No Such Thing As Childhood? New Childhoods in Britain and Turkey between 1976 and 1997

Project description

Mapping ‘new childhood’ paradigms

In the last quarter of the 20th century, Turkey and the United Kingdom both experienced a period of social, economic and structural transformations triggered by neoliberal policies. This contributed to increasing inequalities, changes in household structures and traditional safety nets, and social insecurity. What’s more, childhood experiences and the conceptualisation of childhood underwent transformations. In this context, the EU-funded CHIBRIT project will compare news stories and articles about childhood that were published in mainstream newspapers in Turkey and Britain between 1976 and 1997. CHIBRIT will analyse idealised concepts of ‘new childhood’ in both countries. The findings will highlight the distinctive characteristics of new childhood paradigms and map shared patterns that cut across and travel through contextual and local differences.


This project will focus on changing ideas about childhood in Turkey and in Britain in the late twentieth century, an era characterised with the erosion of traditional safety nets, increased inequality, and social insecurity. Based on a comparative critical discourse analysis of the news coverage of children in selected national newspapers and using theoretical frameworks from childhood studies, the project will discuss how the actual transformations of childhood have translated into ideas about childhood, and analyse how these were reflected, shaped, and diffused by the news media in each country.
Which social, political, cultural, and demographic changes brought by the 1980s and the 1990s were given a prominent place in the public agenda? Who were the idealised children included in the category of childhood, and who were the outcasts that did not fit this ideal? How were concepts such as children’s culpability, parental liabilities, and social responsibilities to children negotiated? In addressing these research questions, the objectives of this project are to compare the conceptualisations of childhood in these distinct examples, investigate the distinctive characteristics of “new childhood” paradigms, map shared patterns that cut across and travel through contextual and local differences.
To achieve that, this research project proposes to analyse the idea of childhood within a framework of social and historical change in the wider sense. Such an intersectional and relational lens allows us to make sense of different childhoods, comprehend not only their plurality but also their shared origins, and illuminate not only the diverse ideas about childhood, but also the common discourses that frame them. The investigation of these ideas and discourses within a comparative frame of analysis has the potential to culminate in an original contribution to the literature on the manifestations of shared global processes in specific localities.


Net EU contribution
€ 224 933,76
WC1E 6BT London
United Kingdom

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London Inner London — West Camden and City of London
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 224 933,76