Brilliance of a fire: innocence, experience and the theory of childhood

Davis, R.A. (2011) Brilliance of a fire: innocence, experience and the theory of childhood. Journal of Philosophy of Education, 45(2), pp. 379-397. (doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9752.2011.00798.x)

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This essay offers an extensive rehabilitation and reappraisal of the concept of childhood innocence as a means of testing the boundaries of some prevailing constructions of childhood. It excavates in detail some of the lost histories of innocence in order to show that these are more diverse and more complex than established and pejorative assessments of them conventionally suggest. Recovering, in particular, the forgotten pedigree of the Romantic account of the innocence of childhood underlines its depth and furnishes an enriched understanding of its critical role in the coming of mass education - both as a catalyst of social change and as an alternative measure of the child-centeredness of the institutions of public education. Now largely and residually confined to the inheritance of nursery education, the concept of childhood innocence, and the wider Romantic project of which it is an element, can help question the assumptions underpinning modern, competence-centred philosophies of childhood.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Davis, Professor Robert
Authors: Davis, R.A.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Education
College of Social Sciences > School of Education > People, Place & Social Change
Journal Name:Journal of Philosophy of Education
ISSN (Online):1467-9752
Published Online:25 May 2011
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2011 Wiley-Blackwell
First Published:First published in Journal of Philosophy of Education 45(2):379-397
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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