Special Issue “Reimagining ‘Childhood, Motherhood, Family and Community’”

Prof. Jayne Osgood
Guest Editor

Centre for Education Research & Scholarship, Middlesex University, London NW4 4BT, UK
Interests: gender, early childhood education

Dr. Allison Sterling Henward
Guest Editor

Department of Curriculum and Instruction, Penn State University, State College, PA 16801, USA
Interests: early childhood education, anthropology and education, children culture

Special Issue Information

Dear colleagues,

We ground this Special Issue in our commitment to critical, feminist, worldly knowledge production that actively works to interrogate existing modernist ideas of childhood and motherhood as well as the institutions, discourses, and histories that work to limit conceptualizations and practices. For decades, various fields in social science and humanities have supplied multiple narratives, tropes, and discursive archives about family, community, mothering, and childhood (Foucault, 1977). Following Foucault (1977), through these processes, families, mothers, communities, and children become discoverable and ‘knowable’. Discourses are ‘constituted by a group of sequences of signs, in so far as they are statements, that is, in so far as they can be assigned particular modalities of existence’ (Foucault, 1972, p. 107) and the way they operate in the research and the power/knowledge nexus is inherent in the construction (Popkewitz and Brennan, 1998). These and other ‘depoliticized discourses function to naturalize socially constructed concepts’ (MacClure, 2011, p.129).

By inviting critical humanist and speculative post-humanist or feminist new materialist approaches to this conversation, we focus on temporality, the complexity, and the overlooked occurrences that typically make up family life. The collective scholarly aim is to generate and extend knowledge about childhood, motherhood, family, and community as inherently contextual, contingent, conflicting, contested, dynamic, uncertain, and, in the tradition of genealogy, socially and historically produced within contexts. Neoliberal versions of parenting, family, motherhood, and childhood have been heavily critiqued for their limiting, essentializing, and containing effects. As these framings become translated into policy and practices, too often, contemporary families feel the brunt. Through modernist understandings, families are normalized, categorized, and too often excluded- deemed insufficient and abnormal within educational and social service policy and practice.

Ways of thinking otherwise become particularly urgent in the Anthropocene, where human activities, conceptualizations, and practices are having world-changing effects on the earth’s ecosystem (Braidotti, 2016). With heart-wrenching speed, families, mothers, communities, childhoods, and kin are being torn apart. The global increase in migration caused by human and non-human factors (i.e., global capitalism, environmental desecration) highlight the failings and crumbling of existing epistemologies and ontologies. Modernist, humanist understandings make even less sense now. We view this SI as an ethical response that invites speculation, complexity, and bravery to meet the uncertainty and instability of our times.

This issue would not be possible without the authors. Your papers have invigorated, sustained, and pushed us to reimagine what is possible when thinking otherwise. We are especially grateful to the production team at MDPI headed up by Allie Shi, for their careful work and thought that went into helping us bring this issue to life.

Special Issue Contents:

  1. Introduction: Reimagining ‘Childhood, Motherhood, Family and Community’

 Jayne Osgood & Allison Sterling Henward

  1. Mothering in Hindsight: Troubling Time(s)

 Marie Lavelle

  1. I Am Roha’s Emaye: A Critical Autoethnography of Mothering in Liminal Spaces

Kara Roop Miheretu & Allison Sterling Henward

  1. Pets That Have ‘Something Inside’: The Material Politics of in/Animacy and Queer Kin within the Childhood Menagerie

Riikka Hohti & Jayne Osgood

  1. Growing Communities in a Garden Undone: Worldly Justice, Withinness and Women

Simone Miranda Blom & Sarah Crinall

  1. The New Educational Pastorate: Link Workers, Pastoral Power and the Pedagogicalisation of Parenting

Nathan Fretwell

  1. Towards an Ethico-Aesthetic of Parenting: Sensing Ritornellos of Play with GoPro Data

Laura Trafi-Prats & Lucy Caton

  1. Silenced motherhood (s): Forbidden Motherings in the Early Childhood Classroom

Dana Frantz Bentley

  1. Sexual Orientation’ in Swedish Preschool Policy— What Is the Problem?

Lena Sotevik

Braidotti, R. 2016. Posthuman critical theory. In Banerji and Paranjape Critical Posthumanism and Planetary Futures. New Delhi: Springer, pp. 13–32.

Foucault, M. 1972. The Archaeology of Knowledge (trans. S Smith). New York: Routledge.

Foucault, M. 1977. Discipline and Punish (trans. Alan Sheridan). New York: Vintage.

MacClure M. 2011. Child as totem: Redressing the myth of inherent creativity in early childhood. Studies in Art Education 52: 127–41.

Popkewitz, T. S., and M. Brennan. 1998. Restructuring of social and political theory in education: Foucault and a social epistemology of school practices. In Foucault’s Challenge: Discourse, Knowledge, And Power in Education, pp. 3–35.

Prof. Jayne Osgood
Dr. Allison Sterling Henward
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Genealogy is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI’s English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Motherhood
  • parenting
  • community
  • families
  • childhood
  • queer kin
  • non-heteronormative
  • reconceptualizing/reconfiguring/reimagining

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