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Children, Schooling and Emotion: The Role of Emotion in Children's Socio-Spatial Practices at School

Procter, Lisa (2014) Children, Schooling and Emotion: The Role of Emotion in Children's Socio-Spatial Practices at School. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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This doctoral thesis documents a collaborative ethnographic study in a junior school setting applying the Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL) curriculum - ‘an explicit, structured, whole-curriculum framework and resource for teaching social, emotional and behavioural skills to all pupils’ (DfES 2005, pg. 5). Children’s emotional skills in particular are positioned as a remedy for the mental health problems perceived to be facing contemporary society (Seligman 2005). However, Gillies (2011) has shown how such understandings of emotion in education categorise particular emotions as right or wrong. This, she suggests, works to pathologise the emotional lives of children (Gillies 2011). In response, Kenway and Youdall (2011) call for a move towards a ‘socio-cultural-spatial analysis of emotion ... [that] ... allows us to engage with emotion in new ways’ (pg. 132). Like Kenway and Youdell (2011) I have found that few educational studies make links between space. place and emotionality, and particularly from children’s perspectives. The thesis develops a socio-spatial lens in order to foreground a definition of emotion as the meanings that people make of affective experiences and productions in relation to particular contexts. In this thesis I am interested in children’s meaning-making and how this is influenced by the school setting. The thesis is divided in two intersecting volumes. Volume A documents how I have developed a methodology for researching emotion from children’s perspectives and Volume B presents a series of vignettes that capture children’s meaning-making. The methodological approach was foregrounded by a concept of emplacement (Pink 2009), which considers place (which is considered to be emotionally textured) as dynamic and socially produced. This perspective attends to the ways that children are both shaped by and shape the emotional landscapes of schooling. In line with this theoretical lens I co-developed arts-orientated methodologies with a group of nine children (aged 9 and 10) to examine the social and spatial dimensions of emotion, such as den-building, film-making and scrapbooks. To reflect the way that the research design shapes research findings, the thesis is designed in a way that supports the reader to make choices about how they move between these two volumes. In doing so I also intend for the reader to construct their own understandings as they navigate the thesis, in order to reflect the subjective and unfolding nature of the research process. The design of the thesis also reflects the complexities of capturing the intersectional nature of the material and immaterial in children’s constructions of emotion, it shows how different moments in children’s school lives are intertwined in the social production of emotional landscapes. In essence this doctoral study aims to show how a socio-spatial analysis of emotion enables alternative (by this I mean moving away from a ‘skills’ orientated perspective) and productive ways of thinking about emotion to enter into educational settings and educational research.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Children, Education, Emotion, Emplacement
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > School of Education (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.605487
Depositing User: Dr Lisa Procter
Date Deposited: 27 May 2014 13:04
Last Modified: 03 Oct 2016 11:16
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/6224

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