23 SES 11 D, Diversity as a System of Exclusion: Historical Notes on Contemporary Thought (Part 2)
Symposium continues from 23 SES 10 D
The idea that a child develops through different stages of growth is an idea from the second half of the 19th century that became naturalized. It entered educational field through the work of Herbert Spencer. In 1852 and 1854 Spencer published ‘The developmental hypothesis’ in which he applied the notion of gradual development to intelligence and perception. It was, thus, first in England and later on in the USA that the Child Study Movement gained expression and that the observation and study of collections of children’s drawings gave its first steps. It was the beginning of the invention of a mass of evidence that soon created an equivalence between what the child was and what she/he should become. A deeper knowledge about each child framed the field of normal and abnormal development of childhood and gave the clues to the government of childhood. I will focus how a certain knowledge about the child (mainly psychological) was related to the power of governing childhood and, how, at the same time, this knowledge was perceived as the reality and the truth about the child. The notion of development as being part of the child’s life was also the category that filtered his/her progress according to the norm. I will also explore how the idea of child’s development came into being and how it appeared related to the performance in drawing. The evolutionary pattern in drawing created principles that governed the practice of drawing. The observation of mass collections of drawings provided ways of thinking and acting on children in schools and at the same time ways for children to think and to act on themselves as normal, abnormal, able, competent, talented, etc. The different perspectives on developmental stages of child art, and the principles created to govern the (im)possibilities of drawing in childhood, will be analysed.
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