Troubling Intersections of Childhood/Animals/Education: Narratives of Love, Life, and Death

Reference work entry
Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE)


Mapping not only the entanglements in which animals are situated but also our own positions within tangled skeins of humans relationships can be a method of coming to understand the workings of that daunting term intersectionality. (jones, 2015, p. 99)

pattrice jones (2015) entreats us to not only map the entanglements in which animals and humans are situated but to interrogate the intersections of human-animal boundaries and that which demarcates the former from the latter, to see how they support and prop each other up. In this chapter, we trouble the intersections of childhood/animal/education seeking to circulate and disrupt the normalizing ideologies of speciesism that reinforce human exceptionalism and dominion. This chapter contributes to political and ethical conversations in early childhood education (ECE), as we argue that the commodification of nonhuman animals infiltrates educational praxis, in ways that contribute to our epistemological uncertainty as we search for possibilities of animal liberation and the desire to live without places of injustice and violence (White, 2015).

Research with children and their families in an Australian ECE context uncovered stories about life, love, and death. The impression given by these stories is that humanist thinking and anthropocentric viewpoints dominate what parents and teachers share with children and the way they talk about their children’s experiences and retell their own childhood stories that concern relationships with animals. Redefining the human species as one among many offers the potential to not only challenge anthropocentric systems but also attempt to move beyond humanist principles and human-centered ways of relating ethically to the other (human or animal) (Kendall-Morwick, J Mod Lit 36:100–119, 2013; Lévinas, Entre-Nous: On thinking of the other. Columbia University Press, New York, 1997). Theoretical borders are also being tested here as we roam in and out of human, posthuman, and critical theoretical realms playing with old and new ontologies in our search for pedagogical resistance, anarchy, and places without violence. Specifically, we engage “post” methodologies and theories, to pay epistemological and theoretical attention to animal species (Hamilton, Taylor, Ethnography after humanism: Power, politics and method in multi-species research. Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2017).


Human-animal relations Early childhood education Speciesism Intersectionality War against animals Multispecies ethnography Earth roamer Critical posthuman Pedadog and roaming pedagogy 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Swinburne University of TechnologyMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.Monash UniversityMelbourneAustralia

Section editors and affiliations

  • Pauliina Rautio
    • 1
  • Tracy Young
    • 2
  1. 1.Faculty of EducationUniversity of OuluOuluFinland
  2. 2.Swinbourne UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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