The Social Life of Chores: Rethinking Work in Childhood

postdoctoral research project
Basic Info

  • Project Executive on ZRC

    Barbara Turk Niskač, PhD
  • Original Title

    Družabni pomen delovnih opravil: Kako misliti delo v otroštvu

  • Code

    Z6-1881

  • Duration

    since August 10, 2019 to July 31, 2021
  • Financial Source

    Agencija za raziskovalno dejavnost Republike Slovenije
Description

The project aims to rethink conceptualizations of work, leisure and childhood by looking at how childhoods are being constructed within different cultural contexts, political and socio-economic circumstances. The project intends to provide empirically grounded understanding of children’s everyday activities in the context of work and leisure, and an in-depth analysis of the relationship of cultural context (urban vs. rural), political and socio-economic circumstances to different conceptualizations of work, leisure and childhood. It will demonstrate how conceptualisations of work and leisure in discourses about childhood have been changing in the Slovene case study during different historical periods, and analyse how children’s everyday lives are situated within current post-socialist neoliberal economic system.

Four main questions inform this project: 1.) How can an understanding of the changing conceptualizations of work and leisure in discourses about childhood disclose specific production of a child in historical context (e.g. socialist childhoods, child as a neoliberal subject); 2.) How do specific conceptualizations of work and leisure relate to different cultural contexts (urban vs. rural), political and socio-economic circumstances, and how these different conceptualizations manifest in children’s everyday lives; 3.) How can a study of children’s perspectives on work and leisure contribute to a new understanding of their meaning-making strategies, and broader conceptualizations of work and leisure; 4.) How can we re-think conceptualizations of work, leisure and childhood by looking at how childhoods are constructed within different cultural contexts (urban vs. rural), political and socio-economic circumstances, and how children actively make meaning through their everyday engagement in work and leisure?


Project steps

WP1: Project management (Month 1 - 24)

WP2: Historical Perspective (Month 1 – 2): the study of historical dimension of changing conceptualisations of work, leisure and childhood. I will employ critical discourse analysis of data (archives, documentation, publications, internet resources), by which I will gain an understanding of how work, leisure and childhood was conceptualized throughout 20th century and map the current conceptualizations under the influence of neoliberal global economy.

WP3: Parent’s and Grandparent’s Perspectives (Month 3 - 5): semi-structured interviews with parents and grandparents.

WP4: Children’s Perspectives (Month 6 – 12): participatory visual methods, participant observation.

WP5: Synthesis of Research Results and Theorization (Month 11 – 24): an analysis of empirical research findings, literature review, synthesis of research results and theorization. I will provide a reconceptualization of previous theoretical understandings of children’s everyday lives in the context of work and leisure, by demonstrating how work and leisure is attributed different social roles and is differently valued in relation to different cultural contexts, political, socio-economic circumstances as well as how children actively make meanings while participating in work and leisure.

WP6: Dissemination (Month 13 – 24): host lectures and seminars, participation at international conferences and writing of scientific articles. Dissemination will also include communication of research results to wider audience with collaborative photo exhibition, public writing in daily newspapers and parenting magazines as well as blog entries.


Results

Scientific monograph:

Turk Niskač, Barbara. 2021. O igri in delu: antropologija zgodnjega otroštva. Ljubljana: Založba ZRC. (Ethnologica – Dissertationes; 7). 

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3986/9789610505181

 

Scientific articles:

Turk Niskač, Barbara. (manuscript submitted for publication) The Many Faces of Work Within Children's Education in Socialist Yugoslavia in the Children's Magazine Pionirski list. Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth.

Turk Niskač, Barbara. (in press) Character development of preschool children through participation in domestic work: a case study of four boys in rural Slovenia. AnthropoChildren 10.

Turk Niskač, Barbara. 2021. "Of children's play, work and idleness embedded in sociality." Entanglements: experiments in multimodal ethnography 4 (1): 70-92. 

https://entanglementsjournal.files.wordpress.com/2021/06/of-childrens-play-work-and-idleness-embedded-in-sociality.pdf
Turk Niskač, Barbara. 2021. "Distance learning and new forms of discipline during the pandemic." Narodna umjetnost: hrvatski časopis za etnologiju i folkloristiku 58 (1): 85-106. https://hrcak.srce.hr/file/376715, DOI: 10.15176/vol58no105.
Turk Niskač, Barbara. 2020. "Drobtinice prostega časa: prosti čas otrok med produkcijo in potrošništvom." Etnolog: glasnik Slovenskega etnografskega muzeja 30 = 81: 15-28. 
https://www.etno-muzej.si/files/etnolog/pdf/0354-0316_30_turk_drobtinice.pdf

Turk Niskač, Barbara. 2020. From educational work to companionship: Juxtaposing adults’ and children’s perspectives on work and play in early childhood. Childhood: A global journal in child research 28 (1): 42-55. doi: 10.1177/0907568220947137

 

Selected writings for general public:

Turk Niskač, Barbara. 2021. Nevednost je lepa čednost: neodgovorjena vprašanja ob pouku na daljavo. DnevnikDnevnikov objektiv 71 (12): 16-17.

Turk Niskač, Barbara and Teja Močnik Vogelnik. 2021. Otroci pandemije: veščine in vrednote na družbeni prelomnici. DnevnikDnevnikov objektiv, 71 (82): 16-17.

Turk Niskač, Barbara. 2020. Vpliv epidemije na vsakdanjik otrok in družinsko življenje: rezultati ankete aprila 2020. Glasnik Slovenskega etnološkega društva 60 (2): 110-112.

Turk Niskač, Barbara and Teja Močnik Vogelnik. 2020. "Nisem pogrešal vrtca, pogrešal sem prijatelje". Pogled: oglasna priloga za starše. sep. 2020, str. 16-17. pogled_2020_september_rastemo.pdf

Turk Niskač, Barbara. 2020. "Koronazmagovalci znanja" : pouk na daljavo in nove oblike discipliniranja. Alternator: misliti znanost. 1. okt. 2020.

Turk Niskač, Barbara and Teja Močnik. 2020. Družba s šolskega dvorišča: spregledani vidiki šole v času digitalizacije. Dnevnik online.

Močnik, Teja and Barbara Turk Niskač. 2020. Zaprti prostori otroštva: arhitektura otroškega vsakdana med epidemijo in uvid v družbeno prihodnost generacij alfa in Z. Outsiderhttps://outsider.si/teja-mocnik-barbara-turk-niskac-zaprti-prostori-otrostva-arhitektura-otroskega-vsakdana-med-epidemijo-in-uvid-v-druzbeno-prihodnost-generacij-alfa-in-z/

Turk Niskač, Barbara. 2019. Otroštvo nekoč in danes. Pogled: oglasna priloga za starše, sep. 2019, str. 34-35. otrostvo_nekoc_in_danes.pdf

 

Photo exhibition:
Turk Niskač, Barbara. 2021. Photo exhibition What work is-and is not? Rethinking (non)work in everyday life from the perspective of children and youth, was on view in the ZRC Atrium, Ljubljana from 19 May to 8 June 2021, and in Baričeva hiša, Prelesje ob Kolpi from 18 July to 15 August 2021.

The exhibition featured photographs taken by primary school children as part of dr. Barbara Turk Niskač's postdoctoral research project, accompanied by vignettes from photo elicitation interviews. In addition, in collaboration with Secondary School for Design and Photography, photographs taken by fourth grade students during the COVID lockdown were shown, and in collaboration with Slovene Ethnographic Museum and National Museum of Contemporary History of Slovenia, archival photographs showing children's work in past periods were also presented.