• Why are development discourses of the ‘poor child’ in need of radical revision?

  • What are the theoretical and methodological challenges and possibilities for ethical understandings of childhoods and poverty?

The ‘poor child’ at the centre of development activity is often measured against and reformed towards an idealised and globalised child subject. This book examines why such normative discourses of childhood are in need of radical revision and explores how development research and practice can work to ‘unsettle’ the global child. It engages the cultural politics of childhood – a politics of equality, identity and representation – as a methodological and theoretical orientation to rethink the relationships between education, development, and poverty in children’s lives.

This book brings multiple disciplinary perspectives, including cultural studies, sociology, and film studies, into conversation with development studies and development education in order to provide new ways of approaching and conceptualising the ‘poor child’. The researchers draw on a range of methodological frames – such as poststructuralist discourse analysis, arts based research, ethnographic studies and textual analysis – to unpack the hidden assumptions about children within development discourses. Chapters in this book reveal the diverse ways in which the notion of childhood is understood and enacted in a range of national settings, including Kenya, India, Mexico and the United Kingdom. They explore the complex constitution of children’s lives through cultural, policy, and educational practices. The volume’s focus on children’s experiences and voices shows how children themselves are challenging the representation and material conditions of their lives.

The ‘Poor Child’ will be of particular interest to postgraduate students and scholars working in the fields of childhood studies, international and comparative education, and development studies.

part |20 pages


chapter 1|18 pages

Unsettling the global child

Rethinking child subjectivity in education and international development
ByLucy Hopkins, Arathi Sriprakash

part I|42 pages

Cultural representations of childhood and poverty

chapter 2|20 pages

‘It shouldn't happen here’

Cultural and relational dynamics structured around the ‘poor child’
ByErica Burman

chapter 3|20 pages

‘Black kid burden’

Cultural representations of Indigenous childhood and poverty in Australian cinema
ByKristina Gottschall

part II|62 pages

Contextualising the ‘poor child’

chapter 4|19 pages

Child labour, schooling and the reconstruction of childhood

A case study from Kenya
ByAngela Githitho Muriithi

chapter 6|23 pages

The construction of resilience

Voices of poor children in Mexico
ByLuz María Stella Moreno Medrano

part III|66 pages

Questioning the project of schooling and the politics of development

chapter 7|24 pages

Policy constructions of childhoods

Impacts of multi-level education and development policy processes in Southeast Asia and the South Pacific
ByAlexandra McCormick

chapter 8|17 pages

Modernity and multiple childhoods

Interrogating the education of the rural poor in global India
ByArathi Sriprakash

part |14 pages


chapter 10|12 pages

Revisioning ‘development’

Towards a relational understanding of the ‘poor child’
ByArathi Sriprakash, Lucy Hopkins