Navigation – Plan du site
Articles thématiques

The Personal and the Political. The Child’s Body: Scientific Research and Public Policy

Nicoletta Diasio, Régine Sirota et Louise Hamelin-Brabant
Traduction de Valentina Baslyk
Cet article est une traduction de :
L’intime et le politique. Le corps de l’enfant entre recherche scientifique et action publique

Résumés

Cadre de la recherche : L’article questionne la dimension prise par le corps de l’enfant dans les sociétés contemporaines et son influence dans les dispositifs de recherche scientifique et d’intervention publique.

Objectifs : L’objectif est de montrer les enjeux politiques du corps, de la santé et de la vie des enfants, leurs manifestations historiques entre la fin du 18e et le début du 21e siècle, la manière dont s’y croisent sphère scientifique, débats sociétaux, contextes institutionnels et politiques publiques.

Méthodologie : Cette introduction se fonde sur une revue de littérature pluridisciplinaire qui mobilise des sources dans le domaine de la sociologie, de l’anthropologie, de l’histoire, des sciences de l’éducation. Elle est également issue d’une longue expérience de recherche des autrices dans des programmes de recherche collectifs focalisés sur le corps et la santé des enfants.

Résultats : L’intérêt pour le corps de l’enfant n’est pas un phénomène récent. Il se développe d’abord dans le creuset de la lutte contre la mortalité infantile, puis d’une biopolitique visant à établir ou renforcer les États-nations, et enfin d’un processus de médicalisation de la société, de transformations éducatives, familiales, scolaires qui mettent l’enfance au cœur de nombreuses politiques publiques. L’évolution du statut de l’enfant, la reconnaissance de son statut d’acteur, sa sacralisation conjuguée aux inquiétudes et incertitudes produites par l’évolution des normativités familiales, ont occasionné de nombreux programmes de recherche et d’intervention

Conclusions : Autour du corps des enfants, les sphères politico-administrative et scientifique entrent en dialogue, s’ignorant à des moments, se renforçant à d’autres, puisant leur légitimation dans des registres différents de normativité. Cette interaction finit par influencer la démarche des chercheurs, leur positionnement, ainsi que la place des enfants dans les pratiques de la recherche

Contribution : Nous montrons les formes spécifiques du « corps politique » quand il se réfère aux enfants : le rapport au temps ; les pratiques de bornage de l’entrée en existence et des âges de la vie ; l’importance des passages ; les concurrences et les conflits normatifs entre les différents acteurs ; des conditions d’existence et des rapports de pouvoir qui segmentent les enfances et produisent des vies inégales. Savoirs et expertises sont devenus un mode de légitimation de la mise en place des actions publiques à l’égard de l’enfance, même si leur circulation entre monde scientifique et arènes politiques n’est pas toujours linéaire ou aisée.

Haut de page

Texte intégral

Save Baby Nicole! The Double Sacralization of the Body and the Child

1In Margaret Atwood’s highly successful dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale (1987), a theocratic totalitarian power exerts control over women’s bodies in order to perpetuate the human species: disciplinary control over their movements, activities and abilities, and biopolitical control over their ability to reproduce. In the sequel, The Testaments (2019), the plot revolves around a child who is being fought over by the fundamentalist regime and the resistance fighters in exile. Baby Nicole embodies the community, its ambitions and its systems of procreation and filiation. Her existence is proof that the system is functioning properly and ultimately she becomes the source of its possible continuation.

  • 1 This issue marks the continuation of a discussion initiated at the conference "Le corps politique d (...)

2We won’t say more, but the cry "Don’t forget Baby Nicole," leads us, in this issue, to examine the political dimension that the child’s body takes on in contemporary societies, its multiple manifestations and its influence on the apparatus of research and intervention where the scientific community, societal debates, institutional contexts and public policies intersect.1

3For over fifty years, the body has been at the centre of many debates on the transformation of society; it is an inexhaustible resource for public action, as well as the object and instrument of demands, assertions, struggles for recognition, etc. This "body shift" also characterizes the social sciences, which have since the 1980s been facing profound epistemological and social transformations: the decline of the Cartesian paradigm, the spread of phenomenology, the influence of Foucauldian thought, the claims of populations stigmatized in the name of allegedly readable physical differences (women, blacks, homosexuals, queers, disabled people, children), the crisis of the biomedical model, and the impact of social and economic changes affecting issues related to development, the environment and the processes of globalization.

4In 1987, anthropologists Margaret Lock and Nancy Scheper-Hughes introduced the idea of a "body politic," a product of regulation and oversight in areas as varied as reproduction, sexuality, work, leisure, illness and in the definition of deviance. This concept was not unknown in the intellectual context of the 1980s, but the two anthropologists established a link between forms of political power and the uses and representations of the body. These concepts are finding manifestations in areas such as the school rejection syndrome in Japan, the medicalization of old age (Lock, 1980; 1986), violence in children’s daily lives in Brazil or family breakdown in a rural Ireland in crisis (Scheper-Hughes, 1979; 1987). In problematizing the links between vulnerability and the political and social order, Lock and Scheper-Hughes also question how power relations are negotiated and how bodies are engaged in what they call "rituals of resistance." In producing codes of "normality," knowledge and power also provide a language for expressing adherence, refusal or negotiated arrangement through what they call the "mindful body."

5The link between body, power and subject has been at the heart of much research in the social sciences over the past twenty years (Bayart et Warnier, 2004 ; Warnier, 2009). The regulation of sexuality, public health policies, the acceptance of refugees and the relationship between aid applicants and the social state are organized around a specific treatment of bodies and life (Berlivet, 2004 ; Fassin et Memmi, 2004). Through the "flesh," new practices provide the individual with a status and a role: as father, mother, teenager or child (Memmi, 2014). Biomedical innovations have reconfigured thresholds at the beginning and end of life, characterized over the centuries by a high degree of stability rooted in social and political choices. Forms of "biological citizenship" are emerging (Rabinow, 2010 ; Rose et Novas, 2004) founded on the idea that genetic or pathological singularities can confer status and foster a sense of belonging based on the sharing of a common bodily experience. Biotechnological advances have brought about a molecular interpretation that "dissolves" physicality and gives rise to an increasingly advanced approach to optimizing oneself and one’s biological faculties (Martin, 1992; Rose, 2007). Life and the body are thus no longer scientific but political concepts (Agamben, 1997): they segment society through the differentiation that they engender—the unequal and asymmetrical distribution of life expectancy according to social class or birthplace (Canguilhem, 1943). The body is also an expression of singularity, testifying to a vision of the "individualized" person, as well as an instrument of claim. It has the last word when other recourses fail: killing oneself, occupying public space, sewing one’s lips shut to claim refugee status, etc.

6On this path that combines sanctuarization and commodification, the central value given today to the body and to life meets another movement—the sacralization of the child (Zelizer, 1985; Gavarini, 2001; Gauchet, 2004; Diasio, 2006; 2009; Déchaux, 2014), which confers on the latter an unprecedented value: pivot of parenthood, object of desire, an extreme expression of vulnerability to be defended, for example from the risks of pedophilia or abuse in the private sphere (Javeau, 1998), the recipient of a passion that is both "love of" and "suffering for." The many contemporary societal debates about children often concern their bodies and the possibility itself of giving life: the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), controversies over vaccines, campaigns to address overweight and obesity in children and adolescents, debates over early puberty and the hypersexualization of girls, calls for control of body hexis in schools and public spaces, gender controversies and their links to sexuality and health education programs. These concerns seem to crystallize a form of moral panic that, through the body, questions the status of the child in contemporary society (Prout, 2000). Dealing with health, the body and "life" thus constitutes one of the political issues of the contemporary world, a way of producing and forming future citizens: the new avatar of a much older preoccupation.

Children at the Heart of the Nation 

7A 1915 drawing by the illustrator Tullio Silvestri, Ufficio requisizione materiale umano (Gibelli, 2005), shows a naked child standing next to a growth chart, being measured by two other naked children, under the gaze of a third bearing military symbols: a sword and cap. As the title of the drawing states, human material is requisitioned for war, and the child, at the beginning of that century, constituted the perfect example.

8This representation of "the child for the Nation" (Segalen, 2010 : 47) did not appear out of the blue. It was preceded by the advent of hygiene and health policies that, from the second half of the 18th century onwards, made children the target of recommendations and measures to combat illness and death. Catherine Rollet’s history of health records (2008) and her analysis of the survey on girls’ puberty promoted by Minister Chaptal after the French Revolution (2015) show the importance of monitoring children’s growth, as well as the role of these small bodies in the establishment of the nation-state. Public action not only tackled high rates of child mortality, but also gradually engaged in monitoring wet nurses, insinuated itself into the arena of domestic life and worked to regulate child labour. In the space of a century, the status of the child changed profoundly. "Children of all ages abounded on the social scene in the 19th century" (Becchi, 1998 : 157): they were at the core of its social and philosophical utopias, and were invoked in studies of the passage from the natural to the social state, from savagery to civilization. As a "founding, fabulous and lost era of existence" (Becchi, 1998 : 161), childhood bears witness to humanity’s past, while at the same time announcing its future.

9The growth of children, their well-being, success and performance were gradually placed under the control of a number of institutions, so that from the second half of the 19th century onwards "the child had to be formed and formed well by and for the state" (Segalen, 2010 : 47). The height, weight, hygiene and health of children became the yardsticks by which the validity of policies to reduce social inequalities or to assess educational models was judged (Diasio, 2019). As Catherine Bouve shows in this issue, it was a project that not only involved several aspects of a child’s physical life from a very early age (from food to clothing, sleep to fresh air), but also made the youngest children "educational mediators" between various social worlds. Initially the focus of a biopolitics whose goal was to boost the strength and vitality of the population, the child gradually became a precious figure who needed to be shielded from the harmful influences of poor education, irresponsible adults, and morally flawed and unsuitable environments. Childhood began to emerge as a moment of truth about what the adult person would become, and a whole vocabulary of childishness materialized and circulated among the medical, judicial, literary and educational fields (Foucault, 1999). Hence the polysemic child depictions that would prevail in contemporary sociology: an imperilled and endangered figure, an individual requiring correction, an innocent martyr, or a victim of parental failures in the new forms of pathologization that affect feelings, family relationships and domestic life. Childhood became established as a time of ambiguity and instability, but also of auroral promises. An individual or a group would be evaluated by the yardstick of their own childhood or of their children’s: from the 19th century onwards, the child is viewed as a "trap for adults" (Foucault, 1999 : 287).

10In the early 20th century, efforts to nationalize childhood intensified. Childcare, nutrition, hygiene, personal care and physical activity (Vigarello, 1978 ; Delaisi de Parseval et Lallemand, 1980 ; Hamelin Brabant, 2006) were all parts of a multifaceted concern for the strength of the population and its future citizens. The demographic revolution produced an increasing number of young people and gave rise to support and control mechanisms to defuse the social threat they could pose (Perrot, 2007 [1979] ; Le Breton, 2013). The history of adolescence shows the issues related to this age group that asserted itself in the period between the two centuries, the knowledge put in place to understand it, and both the social concerns and the fascination it induced (Thiercé, 1999 ; Di Spurio, 2016). Child and youth movements would integrate these young individuals into educational and political groups.

11The Great War marked an important stage in the nationalization of childhood. It restored the image of the child soldier and thus reversed the 19th century trend of delaying the entry of minors into military practices and war. It is estimated that some 250,000 children under the age of 16 were in the British Army and similar rates were found in other European countries (Audoin-Rouzeau, 1994). After the war, children were called upon to be guardians of memory and operators of national mourning: they were encouraged, and indeed required, by schools to take part in commemorations dedicated to the unknown soldier and to those who died in battle, or in tributes to the many disabled who would populate and haunt Europe (Labita, 1990). Also during this period, progressive education movement spread new pedagocical approaches throughout Europe in a spirit of pacifism against this warlike patriotism, but focused on constructing counter-models of political emancipation (Grudzinska, 2016) by leveraging childhood.

12Younger people were also becoming a market segment at which specific messages and products were directed. The image of the child acquired an unprecedented power in advertising as in patriotic imagery, as the embodiment of a nation, of the future and of the people. This melding of the commercial, the cultural and the political created a crucible for testing new tools to manipulate the masses. Based on an analysis of educational, health and military policies in the first half of the 20th century, historian Antonio Gibelli shows how the nationalization of childhood and the masses went hand in hand. "The child is not only a part, but the prototype of the people, in the sense that the people are considered and consequently treated as a minor to be educated, conquered, seduced and abused if necessary, in order to transform it from an element of weakness into a factor of the strength of a nation in competition and conflict." (Gibelli, 2005 : 4)

13Twentieth century totalitarian ideologies thus put childhood at the heart of their political symbolism, nationalist liturgies, public rituals and organization of the masses. They constituted a specific experience in the management of this age group, using organizational methods for children and young people that were already present, but with other objectives, in European societies. The tradition of scouting already featured vacation camps and other outdoor centres to revitalize bodies and minds (Depaepe et Thyssen, 2012 ; Thyssen, 2009), as well as outdoor work and games, physical activity, contact with nature, active pedagogy and other initiatives dedicated to children within the various political parties. Under Nazism and Fascism, these practices evolved towards a double disciplinary and biopolitical dimension that was designed to prepare for war, internalize paramilitary conduct and implement racial and eugenic philosophies. Twentieth century totalitarianism also manipulated youth from the point of view of the human potential it constituted and the new powers it had to be prepared to acquire (Kater, 2004; Kelly, 2005). The confrontation between generations with the ousting of the "old" in favour of the "young" provided an ingenious and recurrent rhetoric to justify changes in the political regime.

From a Child of the Nation to a Child for Him or Herself: Avatars of the Ideology of the Individual

14By the end of the Second World War, childhood and adolescence had become firmly established on the social scene as metaphors of social change (Passerini, 1996); they sparked targeted interventions in the family, education and health (Bernini, 2007). Although now less related to nation-building, a child’s body was nonetheless "political." Louise Hamelin Brabant and André Turmel (2012) show how the issue of risk management developed around childhood over the course of the 20th century. While medical discourse and devices concentrated on optimizing social-health conditions in the early years, the second half of the century saw the emergence of another category of prevention that focused on screening pregnancy-related and psychosocial problems. These new focal points in the regulation and psychologization of bodies had effects on the identity of the child.

15These changes unfolded during the medicalization of society that emphasized taking individual responsibility and internalizing self-control in a new relationship with risk, even in children (Diasio, 2010). The relationship of children with their bodies was thus expressed less in terms of direct control and monitoring as described in the hygienic and remedial techniques of the 19th century and first half of the 20th century. More often they took the form of vague recommendations that were up to children to incorporate in the form of voluntary compliance. This was an observance of a different kind that proceeded less by injunction than by the creation of pluralistic standards. Through children, it was possible to grasp the complex web in which people are embedded in contemporary societies. On the one hand, the progressive recognition of children as social actors in their own right conferred rights and duties on them (such as the International Convention on the Rights of the Child), although not without certain misgivings, disagreements and resistance. The ways in which children were captured scientifically and represented artistically, the societal controversies surrounding them, their place in the commercial world and in mass culture, all reflected a renewed interest in the individual (Sirota, 1998). The child seems to have become the last avatar of a historical movement that granted the individual the legitimacy, or even the imperative, to construct a self that encompassed the creation of multiple references.

16On the other hand, the child continued to be the focus of monitoring systems working with space, time and built-in behaviours. The child was both an acted body and an acting body, to borrow the terms used by Céline Jung in her article on the evolution of the image of the child in 190 administrative files of the Aide sociale à l’enfance (Children’s Social Welfare Agency in France) from 1950 to the present day. The case of schools is an example of this duality. Time spent in school has been the subject of a number of analyses highlighting the discipline of the body required by the school system (Foucault, 1975; Vincent, 1980; Pujade-Renaud, 1983; Chobeaux, 1993), in both the institutional architecture and the instruments used daily to structure and pace learning. Whether one is interested in the power of these instruments or in the forms of resistance, the fact remains that the school calendar structures the period of childhood, from kindergarten to primary school, through middle (secondary) and high school (post-secondary). If one agrees with Jens Qvortrup (2001) that being a student has become one of the principal occupations for a child, then going to school constitutes the labour required of children to create themselves, through the various forms of scholarship, as citizens and individuals.

17New disciplines, such as health education or specific programs to combat child obesity, reinforce and update health programs (Lutz, 2018). These activities occur either directly during classes or outside the classroom in locations such as the school cafeteria. This particular moment, which some politicians such as Jean Pierre Chevènement in France, call the "Table de la République" (Table of the Republic) highlights the issues of citizenship that are involved. Through both table manners and shared menus, the disciplines of the body politic of childhood come into play. Initially intended for the disadvantaged, this school cafeteria time was soon widely shared by the entire population with the expansion of women’s work. Gathered around the same meal were different social class and migratory trajectories, and this moment became a subject of political debate, instrumentalization and heated controversies embodying the methods of nation-building (Kepel, 2012; Birnbaum, 2013). As heir to the Lassalian discipline, the refectory became the cafeteria, then the school restaurant (Chachignon, 1993), and these designations illustrated the evolution of the status of the diners and the way in which childhood was perceived. Children, in both their collective and their most personal dimensions, while initially the object of policies to combat poverty in the 19th century or malnutrition in the aftermath of the Second World War, became the subject of programs to combat obesity or, more recently, to protect the environment and, paradoxically, to combat food waste.

18The child’s body thus became the touchstone for numerous changes: his or her health, performance, "good" sexuality, "proper" diet, all serve to validate the effectiveness of educational and parental models. In return, it will be up to the child to show his/her parents or elder members of the family how to behave well. Let’s consider food education programs that, especially in the French context, have the goal of reforming families through their children, especially those from more humble or underprivileged backgrounds (Maurice, 2013; Berthoud, 2017). Faced with the magnitude of this task, it can be tempting to simply disappear, to make the fragile "body-ship" invisible, as Cristina Figeuiredo tells us in her article about teenagers who withdraw from society, a phenomenon called hikikomori in Japan and diagnosed variously in France. Their bodies may be expressive, openly displaying wounds or other signs of suffering, while at other times their physical presence speaks through absence, which is the ultimate form of resistance. For children are not just passive recipients of these methods, they appropriate them, negotiate their role and their room for action like other players in society. Children are subjects in the full sense of the term, as they exert an influence on their social environment. Their socialization cannot be seen as a linear internalization, but as a complex process in which they are both actors and agents (Alanen, 1988). They "make do" with the society in which they live, between the constraints and the opportunities, in the tension between structure and actor highlighted by Giddens (1984) and developed by sociologists and anthropologists of childhood.

19The movement to form children for the nation also became more complex at the start of the 21st century. Childhood continued to be at the heart of national identification, as Marianne Gullestad shows in relation to Norway (1997), but the role of the body was changing. On the one hand, it transcended state and cultural boundaries: aesthetic codes, health practices and food patterns tend to spread on a scale that goes beyond the national framework, conflicting with or adapting to other contexts and practices. Concern for the body and for life was also spreading, for example into environmentalism in the face of a risk that was increasingly viewed as global (on this matter, see the seminal work of Sharon Stephens (1994)). On the other hand, the production of children’s bodies intersected with other images of childhood—the vulnerable child, the child guaranteeing the success of the family project, the child actor, the child bearer of specific rights—to the point that a child’s development was increasingly becoming a political and social issue as never before.

Where Does the Child Stand in this Politics of Life?

20The relationship with childhood in its physical dimension goes beyond simply combating child mortality and morbidity; it is constantly metamorphosing and taking on different faces depending on society’s expectations. But what specific forms does this body politic take when it refers to childhood and children? Can we identify common elements behind the diverse ways of politicizing the body of the child in given socio-historical situations?

21In the first place, they are not addressed to a permanently constructed social category, but to a subject being considered in the process of formation, whose physical instability and psychological immaturity give it a liminal nature. If avoiding diseases and producing robust bodies are the two facets of the project to create citizens, it is a matter of controlling the correct succession of growth stages, with a view to anticipating the risks and preventing the perils that may emerge in the transition from one stage of development to another. As Turmel (2014) shows, various statistics, tables, charts, weight and growth curves and tests have enabled a dialogue over time among parents, educators and doctors and have contributed to "stabilizing" childhood. These techniques also help to determine the regularities, predictions and averages that define populations, to make them objective and therefore "real," and to refine intervention tools for them (Armstrong, 1986). By these measurements, biopolitics holistically embraces the body and time: by measuring the body we control the passage of time (Diasio, 2019). To be "age-appropriate" means ensuring the future, not only of the individual organism, but also of future generations. Knowing how time works in the body allows us to materialize it, control its duration and channel it. Flagging time through children’s bodies makes thresholds between ages a moment of testing and re-formulation and acts as a reminder of the order of gender and sexual orientation. These transitions represent intense moments (Vinel, 2012 ; Diasio et Vinel, 2017) with a complex interplay of subjective, cultural, social and political dimensions. Birth and death are the ultimate transitions, leading to a questioning of the status of the child. When they converge, as in the case of the neonaticides analyzed here by Natacha Vellut, a doubt seems to linger over the role of these bodies—object-bodies, subject-bodies?—and over the authority that holds the power to make decisions about them. At what point is a body invested with subjectivity? And how can we examine this "putting into existence" (Jaffré, 2019 ; Jaffré et Sirota, 2013) through extreme situations such as infanticides?

22The second element of this "body politic" therefore involves the demarcation practices that define the entry into existence and the stages of life. For "age is regarded as the most natural and precise of social characteristics. Few physical measures achieve such precision, but they remain illusory, since age is primarily a political instrument. Conceptions of age and age groups depend on the political system in place" (Le Bras, 2003 : 25). At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, there was much debate about the definition of thresholds for regulating and supporting childhood (e.g. the 1882 Ferry Laws on compulsory schooling) and for access to the rights and duties specific to adulthood, for example in the fields of personal military service (in France the laws of 1872, 1889, 1905), penal majority (1906) or matrimonial majority (1907). But these thresholds are constantly redefined according to the social and political situation. Wars and totalitarian states function as accelerators of the passage to adulthood and of identifying the boy’s body with virility and fighting and the girl’s with reproduction. In the 20th century, other controversies focused on the end of childhood or the presumed late entry into adulthood. These recurrent debates express the concern of societies in transformation, questioning the formation of elites and the renewal of the ruling class, as in the American society of the 1950s (Passerini, 1996), or the models of education and intergenerational transmission (Mead, 1970). The body, and especially sexuality, is thus scrutinized to confirm maturity or suitability for new tasks that fall to the youngest.

23A third dimension concerns the authority and legitimacy to make decisions about the child’s body. In Europe and North America, the politicization of the child’s body is accompanied by a gradual extension, both in scope and in duration, of the care of the minor and his/her family by the state (Segalen, 2010). The justifications for this care, as well as the removal of children from their families or their recovery, have been and still are based on arguments relating to health or the body (Meyer, 1977). For if the emergence of a health policy in Europe is based on "the privilege of childhood and the medicalization of the family" (Foucault, 1994 : 731), the latter is increasingly viewed with ambivalence, and is seen as both an agent of prevention and a potentially pathogenic environment. The family is scrutinized, analyzed, controlled, sometimes praised, sometimes discredited (Donzelot, 1977; Tillard, 2007). Its accountability cannot be separated from the shadow of suspicion, often accompanied by discredit, of parents who are perceived as being incapable of adapting to their child’s needs; and the many transformations in family relationships that have taken place since the late 1970s do not resolve this fundamental ambivalence (Neyrand, 2015; Singh, 2004). Other institutions, such as schools, the media, the medical world and public authorities, are contenders for legitimacy in making decisions about the child’s body, which is becoming a battleground for confrontation among a plurality of actors, standards, knowledge and recommendations. Public health recommendations may compete with family models of the body, of well-being or diet, as shown in the article by Graessler, Knobé and Gasparini on weight control for children from working-class backgrounds. The research trajectory described by Gérard Neyrand in this issue is a pivotal contribution to understanding these confrontations within the reconfigurations of the private sphere that have taken place over the last 30 years, as well as the paradigm shifts that have fostered the emergence of new normativities.

24Finally, a fourth element, which is not specific to childhood, but which is particularly significant in Neyrand’s study, is the concept of a power that distributes, creates divisions and connects to identities allegedly based on the body. Categorizations of body and age meet and intersect with other categorizations based on gender, social class, processes of ethnicization or racialization and generational position (Voléry, 2014). The separation of children’s bodies from adult bodies and of children from each other is a product of this interweaving of categorizations and the hierarchies they establish. These asymmetrical relationships produce various kinds of childhoods. The processes of globalization create a circulation of goods, physical techniques, images and recommendations related to health and well-being, which bring certain types of children closer together but alienate others by widening gaps based on access to coveted and scarce resources. The sociology and anthropology of childhood explore, within the constraints, asymmetries and limitations of their social situation, how children use their bodies—in this case bodies of varying value—to make room for activities and active intervention in their world. The existence of these unequal child lives, the forms they take and the tensions they generate make visible the gap "between the appreciation of life in general and the devaluation of lives in particular" (Fassin, 2018 : 18). The analysis in this issue by Julie Jarty and Tristan Fournier of public health programs focusing on the first thousand days of life shows an intensive life optimization project that broadens the age boundaries to include the future child in the regulation of bodies even before conception. At the same time this investment in the gestational body reveals and reproduces an unequal morality, based in particular on gender and class categorizations.

From Research to Intervention and Back

25Issues related to the production of children’s bodies, the care they receive, and the ways in which they maintain their lives, their health and well-being have generated a large body of research with the potential of leading to intervention programs or public policies.

26Scientific knowledge and expertise have gradually become a means of legitimizing the implementation of public actions with regard to children, even if, as Pierrine Robin shows in her article, the interaction between the scientific world and political arenas may be limited, or may have unexpected effects or not meet expectations. This ends up influencing the approach and position of researchers, as well as the place of children in research practices. The changing status and sacralization of the child, combined with the concerns and uncertainties produced by the evolution of family norms, have encouraged a number of organizations to launch research programs studying the way in which the child is placed at the heart of social policies. The child’s status is also changing in scientific and administrative spheres; he or she is no longer perceived simply as a burden or responsibility, but as a member of the family unit first, and then as an object or subject of “social investment.” The child must therefore be made to appear as a social actor in his/her own right, even if the statistical apparatus does not lend itself easily to this, as it was not initially designed to make children directly visible. Government by numbers requires new data sources (Desrosières, 2013). This use of figures supports the arguments promoting the best interests of the child, which became a leitmotif of public policy in the late 1990s and early 2000s (Dauphin, 2010). Their purpose is to ensure children’s "well-being." This concept, which can embrace fairly contradictory ideas, has been raised in public debates and offers the hope of achieving an overt consensus and of articulating political programs and social measures. Whether explicitly mandated to provide elements to assist in decision-making or to legitimize a postiori research questions the inflections of public policy with regard to children, especially since a major shift has taken place in the framework of family policies (Damon, 2017). Childhood, and specifically early childhood care, has become the object of social investment and is therefore becoming a priority.

27Multiple disciplines, not just from different areas of psychology but from the social sciences in general, are indirectly or directly addressing this subject. History, sociology, anthropology, economics, geography, political science, demography and epidemiology are all involved. At the international level, in national contexts, at the European level and through international organizations from north to south such as WHO, UNESCO, UNICEF, OECD, the European Commission and various NGOs, (Bonnet et De Suremain, 2014) a number of "invisible colleges" have been set up to convey conceptualizations and disseminate "good practices" with regard to childhood (Sirota, 2012a), contributing to this biopolitics. The child becomes a homo-statisticus, (Octobre, 1999 ; 2010a) and his or her voice and social experiences have become objects of interest and investigation. The body politic of childhood is truly taking shape and form. In France for example, various ministries or public services such as the CNAF (Caisse nationale d'allocations familiales) are launching research programs within their studies and statistics departments, such as the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health within the DREES (Direction de la recherche de l'évaluation et des statistiques), the Ministry of Culture within the DEPS (Direction des études de la prospective et des statistiques), or the Ministry of National Education through panel follow-ups within the DEPP (Direction de l'évaluation de la prospective et de la performance), or even the Ministry of Agriculture within the PNA (Programme national pour l'alimentation) on child nutrition. The major national research agencies are generating specific calls for research, such as "Childhood from 5 to 16 in the United Kingdom, the Growing into the 21st Century Program" led by Alan Prout and funded by the Economic and Social Research Council in the early 2000s, or the "Enfants, enfances" program of the French National Research Agency in 2009. From official statistics to ethnographic approaches, major surveys are being conducted to study both public policies and the daily arrangements of families (Le Pape et al., 2017). These are bringing to light more and more directly the life and social experience of this actor who has finally taken his/her place on the research scene (Octobre, 2010b ; Sirota, 2010 ; Détrez, 2014). Since the end of the Second World War, in response to the declining birth rate and vulnerability and poverty in childhood, cohorts of children have been monitored in a number of countries, including England via the "National Birth Cohort", the United States in its "National Children Study" and Canada (Pirrus et Lerridon, 2010). France was particularly behind in this respect, and it was not until 2010 that the ELFE cohort (Etude Longitudinale Française depuis l'Enfance) was set up under the aegis of a number of research organisations (INED, INSEE, Institut de veille sanitaire, Direction générale de la santé, CNAF, the future investment program) mobilizing nearly 80 research teams in a multidisciplinary perspective.

28The number of political bodies involved and the difficulty of finding and obtaining the necessary funding reflect the ambiguity of political interest in children’s issues and the challenges involved with establishing them as a specific research subject. This is highlighted by recent reports that again and again underline the lack of accurate data on childhood in official French statistics. The first publications based on this longitudinal monitoring are only just beginning to emerge. New disciplines are being created, such as Childhood Studies (Qvortrup et al., 2009; Bühler-Niederberger et Sirota, 2010), in which the social sciences play a crucial role. A sociology of childhood is being constructed and is emerging as a specific field of research that offers a wide range of views and settings in an attempt to understand socialization in everyday life, social policies and expert discourse (Sirota, 1998; 2006; 2017). All the modalities of socialization are being questioned. At the same time, systems of scientific reference are evolving, intersecting and clashing. The article by Claude Martin, Zoé Perron and Julia Buzaud clearly shows the difficulties of identifying indices and methods that would make it possible to reconstruct adolescents’ social investment and subjective experiences, while reminding us of the extent to which even emotions and well-being are becoming an object of concern for public policy. Is the child captured through the paradigms of economists and politicians using public policy indicators the same as the child who is captured through the paradigms of ethnographers analyzing bodies and age categories? Public debate is moving these various depictions of childhood from the scientific to the political sphere via the media (Sirota 2012b). Polemics and controversies around the child then feed into the various normativities, fuelling this contemporary fascination with childhood. The fragile social link that childhood seems to embody contributes to making it a somewhat complex moral and compassionate category (Bourdelais et Fassin, 2005). Sylviane Giampino (Giampino, 2017), Chair of the Council for Childhood and Adolescence within the High Committee on the Family, Childhood and Age in France, illustrates this in his statement that all areas of child development, whether physical, cognitive, emotional or social, are inseparable, and that "for the child, everything is at once language, body, play and experience."

This Issue

29The articles in this issue reflect various historical moments, theoretical approaches and areas of research into what we have called "the body politic of the child."

30The opening article by Gérard Neyrand employs the personal trajectory of a researcher to trace the various strands of early childhood management, from the implementation of family public policies and the evolution of research policy on the child’s body to the evolution of science over some thirty years. Neyrand highlights the extent to which the evolution of paradigms in the management of family policies takes into account and gradually puts at its centre transformations in the status of the child by focusing, on the one hand, on the evolution of knowledge (in particular the introduction of knowledge rooted in the child’s clinical condition and in psychoanalysis) and, on the other, on changes to the form of the family, specifically parenting. This particularly underscores the evolution of normativities around the political management of the child’s body. Combining an overall reflexive perspective on research instruments and a personal critical point of view, the article enables us to grasp the political issues involved in these changes to the management of early childhood.

31In the same diachronic perspective, the articles that follow capture the historical scope of the ways in which children are perceived and controlled socially. Various figures of childhood are highlighted through the genesis and evolution of two social institutions for the care of children: Crèche (Childcare centre) and Aide sociale à l'enfance (Director of Youth Protection). Both are intended to supplement current rationalization and professional approaches, and both demonstrate how the relationship between family and state shapes the contours of the personal and the collective through the body of the child as well as the bodies of women.

32In her meticulous analysis of the periodical Bulletin des crèches, Catherine Bouve demonstrates how the instruments for legitimizing early childhood care and education develop, endure, reconfigure and reformulate themselves. This historical genealogy helps us understand to what extent the most current debates on the political management of early child care institutions and their ups and downs in public debate are rooted in a build-up of the tensions on which they are based and on the evolution of their educational programs since their establishment in 19th century France. From the function of moralizing through hygienism to the introduction of psychoanalytical theories that recognize the child as a person, Bouve highlights the attempts to normalize "temptations."

33Céline Jung views developments in the depiction of the child’s body through the prism of protected childhood, based on an examination of administrative files of the French Child Welfare Agency (ASE). This text sheds light on the way in which children’s bodies have been the object of attention and even injunctions since the 1950s, calling attention to three examples: the child in care, the entrusted child and the foster child. These successive depictions, echoing the evolution of the concepts of the crèche highlighted in the previous article, provide a comprehensive understanding of the ways in which children are viewed and in which their administrative management is changing, even if the timelines of public policies are not strictly identical. Taking a longer timeline, one can read how the political-administrative and scientific spheres engage in dialogue, perhaps unaware of each other at certain times, but at others drawing on systems of legitimization in different registers of normativity. These then inform the guidelines for the training and practice of professionals who work with children, whether they be nannies, social workers or specialized educators, not to mention law and health professionals. This leads to a "re-coding" of gender relations, relations between generations and the relationship with authority, which will also structure the concepts of both abuse and proper treatment in managing the vulnerability of the child’s body. Today, Jung says, the need to make the child a player in his or her own protection project causes us to look at childhood in a different way: the sacredness of a small child’s body accentuates a vulnerability that needs to be protected, while the body of the adolescent, in its proximity to the adult, is marked by a responsible dangerousness.

34In her analysis of infanticide legal proceedings, Natacha Vellut describes these tensions, not to say oppositions, between the object-bodies and the subject-bodies of childhood in her paroxysmal and sometimes startling vision of the legal and media worlds. For if infanticide cases allow us to question with a certain radicalism the current "narrative regimes" in the various spaces that structure the public debate around childhood, the vacillations in legal proceedings highlight the conflicts over the ownership of the body of a child being "timeshared", as described by Martine Segalen (2010). From denial to consideration, the arguments of various authorities are brought together and exposed as police authorities, medical authorities and legal authorities are faced with a mother’s discourse, especially in relation to this body that has barely had time to speak.

35This child of the nation is thus at the centre of a number of public health programs. Some of them, touted by international organizations, focus on pregnancy and the very early years of childhood, anticipating the healthy development of the child as well as the performance of future generations from the moment of birth. This period, considered to be particularly delicate, is central to the analysis proposed by Julie Jarty and Tristan Fournier of an international public health program on the "first thousand days of life" for children and women. The program is rooted in epigenetics, with a view to preventing the onset of chronic diseases in adulthood, but also the assumed transmission of physiological fragility to one’s offspring. Using a survey that combines a monograph from a non-governmental organization and an analysis of the scientific literature, the authors demonstrate how governance of the body of the mother and governance of the body of the child are connected through the argument for setting up these programs.

36The moral panic surrounding obesity and overweight has also been the subject of a number of public health actions. The article by Marine Grassler, Sandrine Knobé and William Gasparini examines a program to prevent childhood obesity by focusing on the parents’ reactions to it. The article questions the effect of a locally-implemented system of care for overweight or obese children, based on a discrepancy between the dominant body model promoted by public health policies and the body culture of parents in working-class neighbourhoods in Strasbourg. This reveals gaps and contrasts in the understanding of prevention messages and highlights the conflicts of legitimacy and normativity that children have to face. Faced with the body model presented by the program, some parents experience tensions between family patterns of exercising their role as "good parents" on the one hand, and public health prescriptions promoting physical activity to combat sedentary lifestyles on the other.

37Another public health policy, aimed at the same age group but in the field of psychiatry, focuses on the creation of homes for adolescents. Based on an ethnographic study that gives voice to all the actors concerned, including adolescents, Cristina Figueiredo’s study enables us to both see and hear the two-fold movement that happens with the withdrawal of adolescent bodies: the first stage, "becoming invisible," is followed after a process of productive collaboration among professionals, adolescents and families by a reconversion allowing a "new visibility of these young people." The analysis of the relationships formed over time reveals the way in which adolescents are placed at the centre of this dynamic, presenting them as thinking and acting subjects. Within a framework designed and conceived for this specific life stage—an age marked in social representations by crisis and conflict—the study questions the place of the body in the learning of individuality and the construction of difference for hospitalized adolescents. The hypothesis is that a hospital stay can be perceived as a rite of passage, enabling young people to reintegrate into the public world with a new self-image. The ritual paradoxically makes it possible to order a government of bodies within the rules of society while preserving the uniqueness of each individual.

38The article by Claude Martin, Zoé Perron and Julia Buzaud looks at the concept of well-being that has become a mantra for the most recent international public policies, while at the same time bringing with it a number of ambiguities in its multiple uses. The International Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) of 1989 was a major step forward in the recognition of children, and in the decades that followed it gave rise to numerous initiatives, notably with the aim of promoting their well-being. This article analyzes the evolution of the indicators used to measure the well-being of a child, by synthesizing the work and approaches of various scientific disciplines and professional knowledge, while also bringing to light the debates and controversies that it raises. The difficulty and necessity of identifying indicators as a specific unit of analysis—the "childhood social indicators"—is well illustrated. In light of two available databases, the Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children (HBSC) study and the OECD study on child well-being, the article points to France’s rather critical and paradoxical contrast between social investment in childhood and the level of subjective well-being expressed by the adolescents surveyed.

39Pierrine Robin’s article concludes this issue. It examines the reciprocal influences between research and policy agendas in child welfare. The article is built around reflexive feedback from the different places occupied by the researcher and their interweaving, leading to a reconfiguration of the personal, institutional, political and activist commitments of the social actors involved, including researchers, decision-makers and the children and young people themselves. What these research or action instruments have in common is that they make the voice of the child heard. Of course, this goal, which has often become a cornerstone for legitimizing social work, can also become a stumbling block. The analysis is thus based on specific examples, such as the course of children’s lives in the context of child protection, and the way in which conceptualizations of the management of children’s bodies are put into play through the categorizations of childhood in the political and scientific spheres, and in public debate.

Haut de page

Bibliographie

Agamben, G. 1997. Homo sacer. Le pouvoir souverain et la vie nue, Paris, Seuil, coll. L’ordre philosophique.

Alanen, L. 1988. “Rethinking Childhood”, Acta Sociologica, n ° 31, p. 53-67.

Armstrong, D. 1986. “The Invention of Infant Mortality”, Sociology of Health and Illness, vol. 8, n° 3, p. 211–232

Atwood, M. 1987. La servante écarlate, Paris, Robert Laffont.

Atwood, M. 2019. Les Testaments, Paris, Robert Laffont.

Audoin-Rouzeau, S. 1994. La guerre des enfants 1914-1918. Paris, Armand Colin.

Bayart, J.-F., Warnier J.-P. (dir.). 2004, Matière à politique. Le pouvoir, les corps et les choses, Paris, Karthala, coll. Recherches internationales.

Becchi, E. 1998. « Le XIXe siècle », dans Histoire de l’enfance en Occident. vol. 2 Du XVIIIe siècle à nos jours sous la direction de E. Becchi, D. Julia, p. 157-238.

Berlivet, L. 2004. « Une biopolitique de l’éducation pour la santé. La fabrique des campagnes de prévention », dans Le gouvernement des corps, sous la direction de D. Fassin et D. Memmi, Paris, Editions de l’EHESS, p. 37-75.

Bernini, S. 2007. Family Life and Individual Welfare in Postwar Europe. Britain and Italy Compared. Basingstoke, Palgrave.

Berthoud, M. 2017. Communication publique et alimentation : une étude des dispositifs info-communicationnels à destination des enfants dans les écoles primaires, Thèse de doctorat soutenue à l’Université de Lille 3.

Birnbaum, P. 2013. La République et le cochon, Paris

Bonnet, D., De Suremain, J-C., 2014. « L’enfant du développement », Autrepart, n° 72

Bourdelais, P., Fassin D. (dir.). 2005. Les constructions de l’intolérable, Paris, La Découverte.

Bühler-Niederberger, D., Sirota, R. (dir.), 2010. Marginality and Voice. Children in Sociology and Society. Current Sociology, vol. 58, n° 2.

Canguilhem, G. 1943. Le Normal et le Pathologique, Paris, Presses Universitaires de France.

Chachignon, M. 1993. Bon appétit les enfants  ! Histoire de la restauration scolaire, des origines à nos jours, Paris, Deuil-la-Barre, Editions UPRM.

Chobeaux, J. 1993. Les corps clandestins, l’école, l’enfant et le quotidien, Paris, Desclée de Brouver.

Damon, J. 2017. « Les politiques familiales », dans Dictionnaire des inégalités et de la justice sociale sous la direction de Savidan, P., Paris, Presses Universitaires de France.

Dauphin, S. (dir.) 2010. L’enfant au cœur des politiques sociales. Informations sociales, vol. 4, n° 160.

Déchaux, J.-H. 2014. « Le sacre de l’enfant. Regards sur une passion contemporaine », Revue française de sociologie, vol. 55, n° 3, p. 537-561.

Desrosières, A., 2013. Gouverner par les nombres, Paris, Presses des Mines.

Delaisi de Parseval, G., Lallemand S. 1980. L’art d’accommoder les bébés. Cent ans de recettes françaises de puériculture, Paris, Odile Jacob.

Depaepe, M., Thyssen G. 2012. « Essor et déclin d’une école de plein air : le Centre Dupré de Roubaix », Revue du Nord, vol. 94, fasc. 397, p. 947-965.

Détrez, C. 2014. Sociologie de la culture, Paris, Armand Colin.

Di Spurio, L. 2016. Comment l’adolescence vient aux filles : discours, modèles et réalités. Une histoire de l’adolescence féminine en Belgique francophone de 1919-1960, Thèse de doctorat en histoire, Université Libre de Bruxelles.

Diasio, N. 2006. « Amour des fœtus et “nouvelles” technologies de contrôle de l’espèce. Le débat italien sur la procréation médicalement assistée », Bulletin d’histoire politique, vol. 15, n° 1, p. 45-53.

Diasio, N. 2009, « Sacralisation de l’enfant et remise en cause de l’autorité des parents. L’exemple de la presse italienne », Revue des Sciences Sociales. Désir de famille, désirs d’enfants, n° 41, p. 60-69.

Diasio, N. 2010. “Children and Food: Ambivalent Connections Between Risk, Moral Technologies, and Fun”, dans Who’s Weight is it Anyway: Essays on Ethics and Eating, sous la direction de I. De Beaufort, S. Vandamme, S. Vande Vathorst, Ghent, Acco Publisher, p. 55-66.

Diasio, N. 2019. « Une biopolitique à bas bruit. Temps, normes de croissance et intensification du corps masculin à l’aube du 20e siècle », Recherches sociologiques et anthropologiques, vol. 50, n° 1 p. 45-76.

Diasio, N., Vinel V. (dir.) 2017. Corps et préadolescence. Intimes, privés, publics, Rennes, Presses Universitaires de Rennes.

Donzelot, J. 1977. La police des familles, Paris, Editions de Minuit.

Fassin, D. 2018. La vie. Mode d’emploi critique, Paris, seuil, coll. « La couleur des idées ».

Fassin, D., D. Memmi (dir.). 2004. Le gouvernement des corps, Paris, Editions de l’EHESS, coll. « Cas de figure ».

Foucault, M. 1975. Surveiller et Punir, Paris, Gallimard.

Foucault, M. 1994. « La politique de santé au XVIIIe siècle » (1979), Dits et écrits, vol. 3, p. 725-742.

Foucault, M. 1999. Les Anormaux. Cours au Collège de France 1974-1975, Paris, EHESS, Galllimard, Seuil.

Gauchet, M. 2004. « L’enfant du désir », Le Débat, vol. 5, n° 132, p. 98-121.

Gavarini, L. 2001. La passion de l’enfant. Procréation, filiation et éducation à l’aube du XXI siècle, Paris, Denoël.

Giampino, S. 2017. « Les modes d’accueil sont des espaces transitionnels, à mi-chemin entre l’intime et le public. Entretien », Revue française des affaires sociales, n° 2, p. 328-337.

Gibelli, A. 2005. Il popolo bambino. Infanzia e nazione dalla Grande Guerra a Salò, Bari, Laterza.

Giddens, A. 1984. The Constitution of Society, Cambridge, Polity Press.

Grudzinska, J. 2016, Révolution école 1918-1939, Film, ARTE

Gullestad, M. 1997. “A Passion for Boundaries. Reflections on Connections between the Everyday Lives of Children and Discourses on the Nation in contemporary Norway”, Childhoods, vol. 41, n° 1, p. 19-42.

Hamelin Brabant L. et A. Turmel. 2012. « La construction de l’enfant à risque d’hier à aujourd’hui », dans Les figures de l’enfance : un regard sociologique sous la direction de L. Hamelin Brabant, A. Turmel, Québec, Presses interuniversitaires, p. 49-67.

Hamelin Brabant, L. 2006. « L’enfance sous le regard de l’expertise médicale 1930-1970 ». Recherches sociographiques, vol. 48, n° 2, p. 277-298.

Hamelin Brabant, L. et Turmel, A. (dir.). 2012. Les figures de l’enfance : un regard sociologique. Québec, Presses interuniversitaires.

Jaffré Y., Sirota, R. 2013. « Les corps sociaux des enfants », Corps, n° 1, dossier Corps d’enfance, p. 197-202

Jaffré, Y. 2019. « Etre un enfant malade en Afrique de l’Ouest », conférence, Colloque international Penser les inégalités dans l’enfance, Sorbonne, Paris, à paraître

Javeau, C. 1998, « Corps d’enfants et émotion collective, essai de sociologie à chaud sur les meurtres d’enfants en Belgique (1996) », Education et Sociétés, n° 2, p. 135-148

Kater, M. 2004. Hitler Youth. Cambridge Mass., Harvard University Press

Kelly, C. 2005. Comrade Pavlik: the Rise and Fall of a Societ Boy Hero, Londres, Granta Books.

Kepel, G., 2012. Banlieue de la République, Paris, Gallimard, Seuil

Labita, V. 1990. « " Il Milite ignoto. Dalle trincee all’altare della patria  » dans Gli occhi di Alessandro sous la direction de S. Bertelli et C. Grottanelli, Firenze, Ponte alle Grazie, p. 120-153.

Le Bras, H. 2003. « Les politiques de l’âge », L’Homme, vol. 167-168, n° 3, p. 25-48.

Le Breton, D., 2013, Une brève histoire de l’adolescence, Paris, Béhar.

Le Pape, C., Bellidenty J., Lhommeau B., Raynaud E. 5DIR ; ° 2017. Les modes d’accueil des jeunes enfants : des politiques publiques à l’arrangement des familles, Revue française des affaires sociales, dossier thématique, n° 2, avril — juin.

Lock, M. 1980. East Asian Medicine in Urban Japan, Berkeley, University of California Press

Lock, M. 1986. “Plea for Acceptance: School Refusal Syndrome in Japan”, Social Science and Medicine, n° 23, p. 99–112.

Lock, M., N. Scheper-Hugues. 1987. “The Mindful Body. A Prolegomenon to Future Work in Medical Anthropology”, Medical Anthropology Quarterly, vol. 1, n° 1, p. 6–41.

Lutz, A., 2018. « De la biopolitique à la discipline du corps. Les dynamiques de savoir — pouvoir dans les politiques de luttes contre l’obésité de l’enfant », Sciences sociales et santé, vol 36, n° 3, p. 69-92

Martin, E. 1992. “The End of the Body”, American Ethnologist, vol. 19, n° 1, p. 121–140.

Maurice, A. 2013. « L’éducation alimentaire en collège à l’épreuve de l’histoire familiale des élèves », Recherches Familiales, n° 10, p. 127-137.

Mead, M. 1970. Culture and Commitment: the New Relationships Between the Generations, New York, Columbia University Press.

Memmi, D. 2014. La revanche de la chair. Essai sur les nouveaux supports de l’identité, Paris, Seuil, coll. « La couleur des idées ».

Meyer, Ph. 1977. L’enfant et la raison d’État, Paris, Seuil.

Neyrand, G. 2015. « Ambiguïté de la valorisation de la coéducation à une époque de sur-responsabilisation parentale », Recherches familiales, n° 12, p. 279-287.

Octobre, S. 1999, Les loisirs culturels des 6-14 ans, Paris, Ministère de la culture et de la communication, La documentation française.

Octobre, S. 2010a. « L’enfant en culture. Sortir de l’invisibilité statistique », dans Cultures enfantines, sous la direction d’A. Arléo et J. Delalande, Rennes, Presses Universitaires de Rennes, p. 85-96.

Octobre, S. 2010b. « Enfance et culture : rencontre de deux objets sociologiques » in Enfance et culture Octobre, S. (ed), Paris, Ministère de la culture et de la communication, La documentation française, p. 13-17.

Passerini, L. 1996. « La jeunesse comme métaphore du changement social », dans Histoire des jeunes en Occident. vol. 2 L’époque contemporaine sous la direction de G. Levi, J.-Ch. Schmitt, p. 339-407.

Perrot, M., 2007 [1979]. « Dans le Paris de la Belle Époque, les ‘Apaches’, premières bandes de jeunes », La lettre de l’enfance et de l’adolescence, vol. 1, n° 67, pp. 71-78.

Pirrus, C., Leridon, H. 2010. « Les grandes cohortes d’enfants dans le monde », Population, vol. 65, n° 4, p. 671-730.

Prout, A. (dir.). 2000. The Body, Childhood and Society, London-New York, MacMillan St., Martin’s Press.

Pujade-Renaud, C. 1983, Le corps de l’élève dans la classe, Paris, ESF.

Qvortrup, J. 2001. Childhood as a Social Phenomenon Revisited in Childhood in Europe. Approaches, Trends, Findings sous la direction de M. Du Bois Raymond, H. Sünker, H.H. Krüger, New York, Peter Lang, p. 215-241.

Qvortrup, J., Honig, M., Corsaro, W. (dir). 2009. Palgrave Handbook of Childhood Studies, Basingstoke, Palgrave MacMillan.

Rabinow, P. 2010. « L’artifice et les Lumières : de la sociobiologie à la biosocialité », Politix, vol. 23, n° 90, p. 21-46.

Rollet, C. 2008. Les carnets de santé des enfants, Paris, la Dispute,

Rollet, C. 2015. « La révolution française aurait-elle contribué à avancer l’âge à la puberté des filles  ? », Ethnologie française, vol. 45, n° 4, p. 607-619.

Rose, N. 2007. The Politics of Life Itself. Biomedicine, Power, and Subjectivity in the Twenty-First Century, Princeton, Oxford, Princeton University Press.

Rose, N., C. Novas. 2004. « Biological Citizenship », dans Global Assemblages : Technology, Politics, and Ethics as Anthropological Problems sous la direction de A. Ong, S. Collier, Oxford, Blackwell, p. 439–463.

Scheper-Hughes, N. (dir.) 1987. Child Survival: Anthropological Perspectives on the Treatment and Maltreatment of Children. Dordrecht, D. Reidel.

Scheper-Hughes, N. 1979. Saints, Scholars, and Schizophrenics: Mental Illness in Rural Ireland, Berkeley: University of California Press.

Segalen, M. 2010. À qui appartiennent les enfants  ? Paris, Tallendier.

Singh, I. 2004. “Doing their Jobs: Mothering with Ritalin in a Culture of Mother-Blame”, Social Science and Medicine, n° 59, p. 1193–1205.

Sirota, R. 1998. »L’émergence d’une sociologie de l’enfance, évolution de l’évolution du regard », Education et sociétés, n° 2, p. 9-33.

Sirota, R. (dir.) 2006, Eléments pour une sociologie de l’enfance, Rennes, Presses Universitaires de Rennes.

Sirota, R. 2010. « De l’indifférence sociologique à la difficile reconnaissance de l’effervescence culturelle d’une classe d’âge », dans Enfance et culture, sous la direction de S. Octobre, Paris, Ministère de la Culture, p. 19-38.

Sirota, R. 2012a. « L’enfant au regard des sciences sociales », Anthropochildren, n° 1, URL : https://popups.uliege.be :443/2034-8517/index.php ?id =921.

Sirota, R. 2012b. Les figures de l’enfance, de la sphère médiatique à la sphère scientifique in Les figures de l’enfance : un regard sociologique sous la direction de L. Hamelin Brabant, A. Turmel, Québec, Presses interuniversitaires, p. 1-10.

Sirota, R. 2017. « Va et vient, de la sociologie de l’éducation à la sociologie de l’enfance », Education et sociétés, vol. 2, n° 40, p. 105-121.

Stephens, S. 1994. “Introduction ”, Childhood. Special Issue. Children and Environment: Local Worlds and Global Connections, vol. 2, n° 1–2, p. 1–21.

Thiercé, A. 1999. Histoire de l’adolescence (1850-1914), Paris, Belin.

Thyssen, G. 2009. « The ’Trotter’ Open-Air School, Milan (1922–1977): A City of Youth or Risky Business? », Paedagogica historica, vol. 45, n° 1-2, p. 157-170.

Tillard, B. 2007. « Quand la prévention sanitaire s’adresse aux parents et aux futurs parents », Ethnographiques.org, n° 14, http://www.ethnographiques.org/2007/Tillard.html

Turmel, A. 2014. Une sociologie historique de l’enfance. Pensée du développement, catégorisation et visualisation, Québec, Presses Universitaires de Laval.

Vigarello, G. 1978. Le corps redressé : histoire d’un pouvoir pédagogique, Paris, Delarge.

Vincent, G. 1980. L’école primaire française, Etude sociologique, Lyon, Presses Universitaires de Lyon.

Vinel, V. 2012. Dynamiques des âges en France et au Burkina Faso : genre, corps et parenté, Mémoire d’HDR, soutenu à l’Université de Lorraine.

Voléry, I. 2014. «Gouverner la sortie de l'enfance par ses marges. Les figures du caïd-de-cité et de la fille-de-quartier dans les espaces de l'animation socio-culturelle», Revue des Sciences Sociales, n° 51, p. 82-91.

Warnier, J.-P. 2009. « Le corps du litige en anthropologie », dans La tentation du corps. Corporéité et sciences sociales, sous la direction de D. Memmi, D. Guillo et O. Martin, Paris, Éditions de l’EHESS, coll. Cas de figure, p. 171-188

Zelizer, V. 1985. Pricing the Priceless Child, New York, Basic Books.

Haut de page

Notes

1 This issue marks the continuation of a discussion initiated at the conference "Le corps politique de l’enfant. Dispositifs de recherche, dispositifs d’intervention," which took place in Strasbourg on September 28 and 29, 2015, as part of the Idex program at the University of Strasbourg "Surveiller et grandir : savoirs et fabriques du corps enfantin en Europe : analyse comparative en France, Grande-Bretagne, Italie, Norvège, Pologne" with the support of the UMR Dynamiques européennes, CERLIS and CR 31 "Sociologie de l'enfance" of the Association internationale des sociologues de langue française.

Haut de page

Pour citer cet article

Référence électronique

Nicoletta Diasio, Régine Sirota et Louise Hamelin-Brabant, « The Personal and the Political. The Child’s Body: Scientific Research and Public Policy », Enfances Familles Générations [En ligne], 33 | 2019, mis en ligne le 30 septembre 2019, consulté le 03 avril 2020. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/efg/9496

Haut de page

Auteurs

Nicoletta Diasio

Professeure, Université de Strasbourg, DynamE (UMR CNRS 7367 Dynamiques européennes) Institut Universitaire de France, nicoletta.diasio@misha.fr

Régine Sirota

Professeure, Université Paris Descartes, CERLIS (UMR CNRS 8070 Centre de recherche sur les liens sociaux,), regine.sirota@parisdescartes.fr.

Louise Hamelin-Brabant

Professeure, Faculté des Sciences infirmières, Université Laval, chercheure au CRI-VIFF (Centre de recherche interdisciplinaire sur la violence familiale et la violence faite aux femmes), louise.hamelin@fsi.ulaval.ca

Haut de page

Droits d’auteur

Licence Creative Commons
Enfances Familles Générations est mise à disposition selon les termes de la Licence Creative Commons Attribution - Pas d'Utilisation Commerciale - Pas de Modification 4.0 International.

Haut de page
  • Logo INRS
  • Logo Conseil de recherches en sciences humaines
  • Logo Fonds de recherche Société et culture - Québec
  • Logo DOAJ - Directory of Open Access Journals
  • OpenEdition Journals