Faculty of Learning and Society, Malmö University, Sweden
Bio: Camilla Löf explores the relationship between education and childhood. More specifically, her research interests center on the constitution of childhood(s) within different educational settings.
Title: On Not Being ‘the Refugee’: Fabrications of Childhood through Social Circus
Abstract: Researchers in various fields point out that interventions into welfare, education and health are often based on predefined categories (e.g. youth at risk, deviant behavior). Such categories are likely to further segregate groups already categorized as marginalized (Bunar, 2010; Löf, 2015; Popkewitz, 2013). Popkewitz (2013) uses the term ‘fabrication’, suggesting that this process of fabricating “the other” depends on ontological standpoints. Against this background it is interesting to examine interventions that offer an “alternative” welfare – such as social circus. Drawing on an ethnographic fieldwork, this paper aims to explore social circus as a social and discursive practice in childhood while specifically focusing on a target group of child refugees. Research questions include the following: How are social circus activities organized in this practice? How are social categories (e.g. childhood, refugees, and/or function) fabricated through the organization of activities comprised by social circus? Our analysis indicates that ‘transformation’ and ‘agency’ stand out as the central aspects of social circus. These aspects facilitate the adoption of new positions by children – and childhood as a social category: from being “the others” (i.e. “the refugees”) to being “participants” in a circus workshop and learning circus skills.