The Question of Childhood: Institution and culture of Living

International Conference

The Question of Childhood: Institution and culture of Living


 19th and 20th November 2022

 Hybrid (in presence attendees / in remote)

How fascinating is the paradox of childhood? Each child is impatient to grow older and mature, dreaming about the day of being free from imposed prohibitions and encountered impossibilities. In the meanwhile, the adult has only one wish: to rediscover the carefreeness, cheerfulness and naivety of his/her tender childhood. It is this very paradox that has pushed philosophers and researchers in humanities and social sciences to reflect on this issue. Childhood is more than a transitory phase in a person's life; it is a universe of ideas, beliefs, memories, dreams and daydreams that are internalized and remain buried deep within us for the rest of our lives.

         For philosophers, childhood is not a classical subject in the same way as freedom, existence, morality or knowledge. However, what links all these elements to the one of our reflection is that they cannot all be treated without considering the subject which is Man. How would it be possible to reflect on the question of the human being without mentioning the fact that childhood is the starting point of human life? Sigmund Freud said that life is only an extension of childhood, didn’t he? For this reason and many others, the question of childhood arouses a particular interest for philosophers as well as specialists in humanities and social sciences (sociology, psychology, theatre, etc.). All these disciplines consider childhood as a knowledge issues, a centre of speculation, generating hypotheses and reflections; often contradictory - thus indicating the path to the absolute truth. If Descartes claims that childhood is a state from which one strives to be free; since it is the starting point of all the preconceived ideas that pave the path for any philosophical reflection. On the other hand, Nietzsche defines childhood as the promising source of a free thinking endowed with creativity. In Ancient Rome and Greece, the child was regarded as a sub-being that, through education and socialization, should be converted into an ideal citizen; otherwise, he or she should be expelled from society. Jean-Jacques Rousseau believes that the child is the link between nature and culture; furthermore he perceives education as an alteration of what is natural. This is to show how important the question of childhood is, however naive it might be, for human thinking. At the end, childhood is only a horizon, a reflection of our aspirations and if it was to have any use it would be to correct our path when we stop dreaming.

On the occasion of World Philosophy Day and of World Children’s Day, an international conference will be organized by LSSMP in partnership with research laboratories, on November 19th and 20th 2022, entitled: "The Question of Childhood: Institution and Art of Living", focusing on:

1.               Identifying theoretically the notion of childhood by reviewing what has been done;

2.               Demonstrating that childhood’s issues have always been a focus of training programmes;

3.               Highlighting the process of identity acquisition via a scientific analysis of the child's subjectivity;

4.               Dealing with contemporary life’s challenges and their impact (both positive and negative) on child’s life, by absorbing the most undesirable effects;

In order to do so, we invite you to reflect on the following inquiries:


  • What position does the child occupy in spaces such as platforms and structures of knowledge, especially in the digital world?
  • How can we think about childhood while taking into consideration both cultural heritage and technological progress?

The axes:

  • Childhood, Humanities and Social Sciences:
  • Childhood and social change challenges;
  • Childhood and socio-economic institutions;
  • Childhood and the educational systems.
  • Child and philosophy:
  • A Philosophical approach of childhood question ( historical development) ;
  • Child and philosophy education;
  • Children and Philosophical Act (practical experiences),
  • Childhood and the challenges of contemporary life:
  • Childhood and legal texts;
  • Childhood and means of communication;
  • The destitute childhood (practical experiences).
  • Childhood and the digital world :
  • Childhood and electronic games;
  • Childhood and social media;
  • Childhood and modern technology.
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