Childhood Journal Cover

Children, Childhoods, and Everyday Militarisms
Future Special Issue of Childhood: A Journal of Global Child Research

Guest Editors
J. Marshall Beier, Department of Political Science, McMaster University, Canada
Jana Tabak, Institute of International Relations, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Childhoods, Militarisms: complex and highly varied spheres of social life and lived experience, too often rendered discretely and monolithically in popular imaginaries. To explore the connections between them is to destabilize the limits that structure and organize the modern ideas of the child and of organized political violence. Put another way, thinking about the dynamic intersections of militarisms and childhoods is wont to be framed as a “problem” inasmuch as it brings to the forefront the supposed untenable linkage between children’s vulnerability and innocence and the extreme violences of contemporary conflicts.

This special issue of Childhood will explore these powerful socio-political logics by inquiring into experiences of childhood in connection with issues of everyday militarisms, which are wide-ranging and shape civilian spaces and social relations in ways that may be subtle and inconspicuous. It draws from the pervasive and growing presence of militarized practices in domains such as culture, health, and space, in order to get to the broader and deeper circulations of militarisms, which may be experienced, felt, or engaged in the everyday lives of children seemingly remote from zones of conflict. Without denying the continuing relevance of debates on militarization in conflict zones, this special issue aims at exploring the relationships between childhoods and militarisms in contexts beyond those associated with child soldiers, which means taking up a particular angle of the pervasive presence of militarism in minute and mundane aspects of everyday milieus: how, for example, militarism constrains and enables spaces, routines, and experiences of childhood and youth through school curricula, museum programming, cinema, the marketing of toys, and more.

With these limitations and their conceptual lacunae very much in mind, we propose to take a critical view of how militarized experiences of childhood risk upsetting the parameters of what is made normal and acceptable in the everyday. Thinking about the relationship between children, childhoods, and militarisms opens spaces in which to explore not only nuances of children’s participation in armed conflicts, but also how different modalities of war shape the daily lives of children and youth, including in contexts far from conflict zones.

In this special issue, we seek contributions that inquire into forms and processes of how particular childhoods are militarized. We also wish to stimulate reflection and inspire further research along lines of our contention that the debates on militarization need to be widened to include thinking also about how militarisms are affected by childhoods. Positioning children’s subjectivity more centrally, rather than engaging them only as objects of militarization, we refer to how children resist and/or participate in processes and practices of militarization. This opens spaces within which to examine children’s ability to negotiate descriptions of and prescriptions for how to be a child from different sources and within different contexts: from the family sphere and the school environment to international armed conflicts.

We welcome empirical and theoretically-informed contributions that adopt local and global perspectives and investigate the conceptual and practical implications of militarized everyday experiences of children and youth for the construction, maintenance, and reproduction of social order(s). We seek analyses of militarisms that affect and are affected by children in everyday routines and lived experiences beyond the conflict zone in ways that extend, complicate, and produce more nuanced understandings of children, childhoods, and militarisms. Accordingly, we are interested in how children understood as objects of militarization – and protection – are excluded from political frameworks but nevertheless occupy critical subject positions and, at the same time, are relied upon as already-politicized semiotic and discursive resources in scholarly debates concerning militarism as much as in political elites’ rhetorical flourishes regarding threats to national and international security.

Possible themes for papers include, but are not limited to:

  • programmatic recruitments of/outreach to children by militaries;
  • children’s participation in armed conflicts;
  • doxa of militarism in children’s everyday lives;
  • militarisms and school curricula;
  • militarisms and toys/play;
  • youth, drugs, and militarisms;
  • the relationship of militarism to gendered childhoods;
  • race, childhoods, and militarisms;
  • vurban violence and youth gangs;

  • children and militarism-interpolated pop culture and/or consumer culture;
  • militarized appeals to children/childhoods as affective referents;
  • childhoods and militarism in an era of ascendant authoritarianism;
  • militarisms and juvenile justice;
  • intergenerational military careers;
  • children and militarization of language.


  • Submission of abstracts (300 words, in English), sent electronically to the Managing Editor, Karin Ekberg ( by 1 February 2019. Please include author’s name(s), affiliation(s), and contact information.
  • Invitations sent to possible paper contributors, 15 February 2019
  • Submission of full papers by 1 July 2019
  • Review process and revision, 1 July 2019 – 1 March 2020
  • Anticipated publication date for the Special Issue, August 2020

For enquiries, contact
Marshall Beier:
Jana Tabak:

Childhood is a major international peer reviewed journal and a forum for research relating to children in global society that spans divisions between geographical regions, disciplines, and social and cultural contexts. Childhood publishes theoretical and empirical articles, reviews and scholarly comments on children’s social relations and culture, with an emphasis on their rights and generational position in society. Articles are no longer than 7000 words, including all notes and references.

Further information about Childhood:

CFP – Special Issue of Childhood: Children, Childhoods, and Everyday Militarisms