An Assault on Childhood? Illuminating Modernity's Troubled Relationship with Childhood Experience

NOA Community Centre (Ferry Centre)
Summertown, Oxford

(click for map etc.)

Many believe that today's children are being subjected to unprecedented levels of pressure and anxiety, and from many different sources: consumerist and celebrity culture and their crass materialistic values, the managerialist 'audit culture', and the seductive addictions of televisual and other technologies all of which are in turn leading to children being dragged into precociously premature adulthood at ever earlier ages. The place of childhood and children's experience has certainly been jettisoned into public awareness since the publication of Sue Palmer's book Toxic Childhood in 2006, and the accompanying 'Open Letter' that appeared in the Daily Telegraph in September 2006, and which precipitated a global news story on the state of childhood in modern technological society.

In this talk, Richard House will attempt to illuminate just what is happening to childhood experience today, focusing on epochal 'paradigmatic' issues around 'modernity' and 'hyper-modernity', materialism, technology, and the evolution of human consciousness. In the process, the contributions of some of humankind's greatest thinkers will be explored, including Rudolf Steiner and Martin Heidegger.

Richard House, Ph.D., is Senior Lecturer in Psychotherapy and Counselling, Research Centre for Therapeutic Education, Roehampton University. Richard is also an early-years Steiner teacher who helped to found Norwich Steiner School. He is Series Editor of Hawthorn Press's acclaimed Early Years series, writes on child care and educational issues for The Mother magazine, and contributes to a range of educational publications and peer-reviewed psychotherapeutic journals. His books include Therapy Beyond Modernity (Karnac, 2003), and (as co-editor) Against and For CBT (PCCS Books, 2008). Through his campaigning work with Open EYE (The Campaign for an Open Early Years Education), he was recently chosen by the London Evening Standard as one of London's 1,000 'most influential people'. With Sue Palmer, he co-orchestrated the two Daily Telegraph Open Letters on 'toxic childhood' and 'play' in autumn 2006 and 2007. (Click here for open letter to Times Educational Supplement.)

£8.00 (Friends £3.00)