Empowering children by critiquing norms and structures
The Childism Institute aims to stimulate childist research across the academy, test and evolve the concept of childism, and inform childist social and political justice activism.
It does so by developing a range of projects including colloquia, workshops, conferences, speakers, collaborative publications, opinion pieces, special issues of journals, edited volumes, and books. It includes children and youth as appropriate in these initiatives. In addition, it formulates workshops and consultations for local, national, and international organizations run by both adults and children to understand how childism could inform – and be informed by – their work.
These cross-currents of theory development, scholarly investigation, and practical engagement enrich one another. In this way, the Childism Institute strives to develop an ongoing generative conversation about the lives of children that organically evolves new ideas and perspectives over time.
Childism is like feminism but for children. It has emerged in the academic literature as a term to describe efforts to respond to the lived experiences of the third of humanity who are children through the radical systemic critique of scholarly, social, and political norms.
Beyond including children and young people as active social participants, childism also challenges and transforms the historically ingrained adult-centered assumptions that underlie children’s systemic marginalization in the first place. It functions analogously to terms like feminism, antiracism, womanism, postgenderism, postcolonialism, decolonialism, environmentalism, and transhumanism. As such, it provides a needed critical lens for deconstructing adultism and patriarchy and reconstructing age-inclusive research and societies.