AnthropoChildren, the little newcomer
In February 2012, the inaugural issue of the electronic journal AnthropoChildren, the latest little newcomer to the University of Liège’s academic research portal, was placed online on Open Access. Biannual, the publication – which backs a certain approach to the anthropology of childhood – has been designed as a space for reflection and debate and whose deliberately free access is dedicated to dialogue amongst researchers, teachers, students and professionals the world over on questions linked to childhood and children. Elodie Razy, an Assistant Professor at the Institute of Human and Social Sciences (Social and Cultural Anthropology Laboratory, ULg), whose initiative the journal is, along with Charles-Edouard de Suremain, Research Fellow in anthropology (UMR 208 PaLoc ‘Patrimoines Locaux’, IRD-MNHN, France).
A ‘little’ subject
Publishing on childhood and children was moreover for long decades a relatively difficult undertaking for researchers. For a long time they ran up against the commonplaces which clung to the child and childhood, wrongly considered in anthropology as a ‘little subject,’ as Suzanne Lallemand said, without great value. In 2003, in an article published in the journal Terrain, the American anthropologist Lawrence Hirschfeld moreover asked himself the following question: ‘why do anthropologists not like children?’ ‘Because the child is often associated with an immature being, incapable of having its own thoughts,’ hurls Elodie Razy. ‘A being whose thinking is considered as a pre-logical thinking comparable to those of savages, and would subsequently be worthy only of minor interest. The socio-cultural backdrop of our adult centred society and the deep structure of anthropology have much to do with this conception of the child as an immature being, which they have contributed to forging. Also because the worlds of childhood, the interior worlds, remain an enigma for adults; they are attractive but alarming at the same time.’