Constructing childhood in the scout movement - a presentation of a new research project
Westberg Broström, Anna
Dept. of Child and Youth Studies Stockholm University Stockholm, Sweden
The scout movement was founded in England 100 years ago. Today, it is established globally and has 38 million members. The Swedish branch of the movement is coeducational and it is based on voluntary work, membership fees and support from the state. The scout movement organizes the free time for many children, youth and adults in Sweden. It is a milieu and a context where children are being trained. The movement contains both traces of continuity and change. In that way it can say something about the development of society. The aim of this paper is to present and discuss the design of a coming research project about the scout movement. The study, which further develops some of the research questions arising from my dissertation research, seeks to contribute with knowledge about how childhood is being constructed. The aim of the thesis was to describe children's own perspectives on being scouts and to describe the scout movement as a cultural phenomenon (Westberg, 2007). In the coming study, I will study the leaders' perspectives on the children. Instead of studying the movement in general I will study the movement's construction of childhood and its view of knowledge in particular. The project aims to study a culture which is created for children. What does the movement think is best for children? How is childhood constructed within the scout movement? These questions are of particular interest in a time when the movement tries to modernize itself to suit a wider target group among the population.