Childhoods 2005 – International conference June 29 – July 3, 2005, Oslo, Norway
Call for papers
Gift, Autonomy and Young people
– New perspectives for the Interpretation of Spirituality
The children of today grow up in emerging and transforming societies. The rapidly changing
political, economic, and social conditions that characterize the lives of so many children and
young people around the world today present significant challenges for their health, education
and development. This context raises the question of what influence religion and spirituality
have, or can have, on the efforts to change and improve children’s lives.
On this background the Religion and Spirituality Group is interested in a survey and a broader
understanding of children’s rights in religions and the contributions of religions to children’s
rights. The aim is to develop an understanding of children as participants in their own lives
and in society. These are ideas which should be widely discussed in the religions of today.
One important aspect of the discussion of children’s rights and the child as actor is the
prespective of gift. This perspective is derived both from empirical and ethical research. In
both, the gift perspective focuses on what it means to be a human being if life is viewed as a
gift to be handed on to other human beings. This is a perspective which is likely to be
challenging and fruitful especially when it comes to children’s rights within the religions and
their communities of faith. But it is also important when one discusses religious education
within school. And in both fields one is confronted with the need to reflect on the relationship
between the perspectives of gift and of respect and autonomy in children’s lives.
On the basis of this, some–among many other–interesting topics for papers can be suggested:
- Religions as contributors/impediments to children’s rights
- Cases of gift-based practices among young people
- The child as a gift and as a citizen in the context of religion
- Religion in the classroom: A gift to the child?
- Faithbased education: children as recipients and/or agents?
- Historical perspectives on children and spirituality
- Gift and/or autonomy – what are the better ways to develop spirituality among young people?
- The meaning young people give to spiritual experiences and religious beliefs in their everyday
The core members of the Religion and Spirituality Group are a number of scholars recruited
from the Childwatch network and from various faculties at the University of Oslo. We look
forward to papers based on theoretical, historical and comparative perspectives as well as case
studies. We welcome individual or co-authored papers as well as poster and symposium
proposals. Maximum length of papers is 2500 words.
Abstracts should be submitted to the conference secretariat (firstname.lastname@example.org) no later
than November 20, 2004. Mark the abstract “Sprituality”. Abstracts are limited to 200 words.
Abstracts and papers have to be presented in English. Abstracts should preferably include a
statement of purpose, a summary of methods and results, and of the conclusions reached.
Registration for the conference closes on March 15, 2005. Conference information (program,
accommodation etc.) can be viewed at http://childhoods2005.uio.no (continually updated).
Trygve Wyller (Oslo) John Hull (Birmingham) Usha Nayar (Mumbai)