It is broadly accepted that social networks and social resources, and social support (social capital), in the form of personal, familial, and community-level relationships are crucially important to children as they grow up. Yet this is an under-researched topic in developing countries, where the unprecedented pace of change puts pressure on children to pursue particular trajectories through formal schooling, while traditional values simultaneously insist that they follow pathways constrained by norms that are patterned by gender, class, caste and ethnicity and intergenerational norms of reciprocity and responsibility.
This book chapter uses data from Young Lives to analyse what children say about their social relationships, sources of support, whom they turn to when in difficulty, and why. After briefly reviewing research on children's social relationships and sources of support in developing countries, we draw together empirical examples from two sites in rural Andhra Pradesh to analyse the role that social capital may play in supporting or constraining children and young people over time. We find that parents, siblings, extended family and friends are crucial, and that while new social policies, like the expansion of formal schooling and the increasing 'institutionalisation' of children, are successful in enrolling children in school, other poverty-reduction schemes may be vulnerable to manipulation by higher status groups to benefit themselves.
Keywords: Children; Social networks; Social capital; Education; Paid work; India
About the book
This book breaks new ground in its theorising of childhood within sociological concepts. Over the course of nine chapters, authors give detailed accounts of the lives of children in a range of societies, including England, sub-Saharan Africa, Northern Ireland, France, Andhra Pradesh and Finland. They describe their studies in the light of Bourdieu's key concepts - field, habitus and capital - to consider the social status of childhood, the tensions between schooling and work in the lives of children, children's relations with adults, and the pressures on childhood resulting from globalisation and from the professional discourse of those adults who aim to help them. The authors are all established researchers who are committed to improving the social status and well-being of childhood, in social, economic and political worlds that too often fail to accord children respect for their human rights.
1. Introduction, Leena Alanen, Liz Brooker and Berry Mayall
2. Intergenerational Relations: Embodiment over Time; Berry Mayall
3. Cultural Capital in the Preschool Years: Can the State 'Compensate' for the Family?; Liz Brooker
4. Between Young Children and Adults: Practical Logic in Families' Lives; Pascale Garnier
5. Early Childhood Education as a Social Field: Everyday Struggles and Practices of Dominance; Mari Vuorisalo and Leena Alanen
6. 'A Fish in Water?' Social Lives and Local Connections: the Case of Young People who Travel Outside their Local Areas to Secondary School; Abigail Knight
7. Childhood in Africa between Local Powers and Global Hierarchies; Geraldine André and Mathieu Hilgers
8. "Those who are good to us, we call them friends": Social Support and Social Networks for Children Growing up in Poverty in Rural Andhra Pradesh, India; Virginia Morrow and Uma Vennam
9. Struggling to Support: Genesis of the Practice of Using Support Persons in the Finnish Child Welfare Field; Johanna Moilanen, Johanna Kiili and Leena Alanen
10. Decision-making Processes in Review Meetings for Children in Care: a Bourdieusian Analysis; Karen Winter
Leena Alanen, Liz Brooker and Berry Mayall (eds) Childhood with Bourdieu, London: Palgrave Macmillan, January 2015
Palgrave Studies in Childhood and Youth Hardback 9781137384737