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Children's right to be hostile: Emotions and agency through psychodynamic lens

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Matej BlazekORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


© 2021 Elsevier Ltd, This paper explores children's hostility towards adult researchers and shows how individual acts of hostility might be linked to wider contexts in children's lives and to their relationships with others. Drawing on ethnographic research with children in Slovakia and psychodynamic theories of Alfred Adler and Anna Freud, the paper argues for hostility to be seen as a legitimate form of children's political agency and one which might require escape from adult logics and interpretations. It suggests that children's hostility towards the researcher should be seen as a right before it is considered a problem, and it should not on its own exclude children from participation in research. Tracing the emotional dynamics of research-participant encounters and their links to other social relationships, personal histories and emotional materials, the paper suggests that recognising children's agency as too elusive for adult interpretations might facilitate new forms of research participation, one which would not rest as heavily on the adult conceptions of childhood.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Blazek M

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Emotion, Space and Society

Year: 2021

Volume: 41

Print publication date: 01/11/2021

Online publication date: 25/10/2021

Acceptance date: 21/10/2021

Date deposited: 08/12/2021

ISSN (print): 1755-4586

ISSN (electronic): 1878-0040

Publisher: Elsevier BV


DOI: 10.1016/j.emospa.2021.100850


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