Negotiating pain: the joint construction of a child's bodily sensation
journal contributionposted on 03.06.2019, 10:13 by Laura JenkinsLaura Jenkins
Traditional theories of socialisation, in which the child was viewed as a passive subject of external influences, are increasingly being rejected in favour of a new sociology of childhood which frames the child as a social actor. This article demonstrates the way in which conversation analysis can reveal children’s agency in the micro-detail of naturally occurring episodes in which children express bodily sensations and pain in everyday life. Based on 71 video-recordings of mealtimes with five families, each with two children under 10 years old, the analysis focuses on the components of children’s expressions of bodily sensation (including pain), the character of parents’ responses and the nature of the subsequent talk. The findings provide further evidence that children are social actors, active in constructing, accepting and resisting the nature of their physical experience and pain. A conversation analysis of ordinary family talk facilitates a description of how a child’s agency is built, maintained or resisted through the interactional practices participants employ to display knowledge.
This work was supported by the Economic and Social Research Council (grant no. ES/ F020864/1, 2007).
- Social Sciences
- Communication, Media, Social and Policy Studies