This article looks at the key themes of Stanisław Jaworski’s memoir Którędy [Which way], published in 2018. They are embedded in a highly personal (autobiographical) idea of poetry with its recurrent motifs of return to childhood, the experience of loss of a beloved person and multifarious refl ections on the experience and poetics of oneirism.
Childhood is a category which came to social awareness and scientific research relatively late. The discovery of childhood can be associated with the names of different thinkers and educators. In this article, I will undertake an attempt to reconstruct selected views about the child and childhood coming from J.J. Rousseau and J. Korczak. The first figure is said to be the discoverer of childhood in modern Europe, while the second one is the discoverer of childhood in Polish education, and a progenitor of the modern meaning of childhood. The analyzes that I conduct shows the evolution of understanding of this category.
In post-humanist studies of identity, otherness and exclusion – conducted within the de-anthropocentrism of the humanities – questions arise about the condition of non-human subjects (animals, plants, things) that gain the cultural and social status of Others. As non-human entities, they have a socializing value, cement interpersonal relations, attract people to certain places. They have performative, integrative and co-creating abilities. The posthumanistic “turn towards things” opens the room for the construction of their social (auto) biographies, a development which already has been taking place in contemporary children’s literature. The problem of the creation of (auto)biographies of non-human subjects is presented in this article on the example of the picture book Otto: The Autobiography of a Teddy Bear by Tomi Ungerer. The artist gives the non-anthropomorphized plush toy the status of a non-human subject and an active actor of social life as a medium of unoffi cial memory of the Holocaust. Ungerer consciously and innovatively uses the key determinants of the posthuman discourse, including intimate childhood experiences.
Dynamic development in children’s research has led to surprising discoveries about the learning and thinking patterns of fetuses, infants and young children. These studies have revolutionized not only our knowledge of children, but also our understanding of the nature of the human mind and brain. Moreover, within this context, it is believed that many areas of adulthood are the result of the experiences and changes that occur during the fetal period and in childhood. These experiences, therefore, are crucial for human development and what people achieve in the following stages of their lives. The results of the research on brain development during the fetal period and during childhood presented here, reveal a new perspective for understanding the essence and nature of the learning process. These studies also strongly suggest that the first two thousand days of a child’s life are critical in developing many basic human skills. Therefore, we must take great care of the quality of environment for a child’s development.
The paper describes the political use of symbols of childhood and orphanhood in the current policy of the Russian authorities. At the beginning of the Bolshevik regime, homeless children (bezprizorni) became a subject of interest for the security apparatus organized by F. Dzerzhinsky. At that time, A. Makarenko developed his innovative pedagogical approach. These activities were designed to create a “new Soviet man”. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia again faced the problem of homeless children. After several years, however, children and orphans are now being used as a symbol of vulnerability in the government policy of the Kremlin. As an answer to the so-called “Magnitsky Act”, the Russian authorities implemented the “DimaYakovlev law” prohibiting adoptions of Russian children to the United States. In addition to this, the child as a symbol of innocence and vulnerability is an invariant element in the policy of the Russian authorities. This combines symbolism associated with bravery, dedication and sacrifice, allowing justification of the current political course of power in Russia.
The article includes analysis of the constructing of the concept of the child and childhood within neoliberal culture set against the background of mechanisms for exercising power and constructing subjectivity. In particular, in conducting these areas such phenomena as: population policy, investing in childhood, management of childhood are involved. Additionally, the theoretical perspective lying at the basis of the analysis refers to the concept of “governmentality” in light of Michel Foucault and his ideas.