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Interdisciplinary Annual Conference of the Sociology of Childhood Section

Date: 11 - 13 October 2018

Location: Stendal, Germany

By Ekaterina Chicherina

From the 11 - 13 October, 2018, I took part in the Interdisciplinary Annual Conference of the Sociology of Childhood Section “Children and Childhood in Social Upheaval” which was held in Stendal, Germany. This event was organized by the Sociology of Childhood Section of the German Sociological Association (DGS) in cooperation with Magdeburg - Stendal University of Applied Sciences.

The conference welcomed reports based on the empirical studies from childhood sociological and historical perspectives. The effects of social upheaval on childhood structures and the description of social upheavals from the children’s perspective were among the questions discussed at the meeting. The participants had an opportunity to consider the relations between childhood and social upheavals in the context of different state forms and societies.

Although the main language of the conference was German, the organizers provided the simultaneous translation into English, which allowed researchers from different countries (Germany, Russia, Finland, etc) to take active part in the discussion.

Among keynote speakers there were such experienced researchers as  Erhard Stölting (Berlin) who delivered the lecture “The Experience of Social Upheavals in a Sociological Perspective”,  Robert Imre (Tampere) with the presentation “The Problem of International Politics of Childhood institutions: Metaperspectives Bound by the Nation, Subject to Norms, Rejecting Liminality”, and Zsuzsa Millei (Tampere) who presented “Between Socialist Ideals and Everyday Lives: Researching Childhood and Children’s Experiences during Socialist Upheaval”. 

One of the most remarkable events of the conference for me was a photo session – the discussion of pictures in the context of the exhibition of drawings by refugee children, designed under the leadership of the artist Dieter Mammel. We got an opportunity to take a look at children’s perspectives regarding their migration experience which they depicted with the help of drawings. Conducting joint analysis and group discussions on children’s pictures allowed the participants to illuminate some important aspects, such as feeling of security or the role of family bonds etc., which might be interesting to consider in more details in migration studies.