Growing dens: On re-grounding the child–nature relationship through a new materialist approach to children’s dens

Jan Arvidsen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

This paper contributes to the dawning disruption of the prevailing notion of the child–nature relationship through a new materialist reading of children’s dens, and proffers a re-grounded and worldly gaze on the relationship with implications for the promotion of children’s outdoor lives. The study is an ethnographical field study among 10–12-year-old boys in a Danish school. Data were generated through participant observation, and include video recordings and photographs of children’s dens. Drawing on a flat ontology and plugging in key Ingoldian concepts of meshwork and growing (Ingold 2011a, 2013), the analysis suggests that children’s relations to dens cut across taken-for-granted subject–object binaries and go beyond common notions of nature as inert materials. I find that dens are growing in an ever-becoming meshwork comprised by human and non-human intra-actions, and that agency or vitality can be ascribed broadly to the material world. Possible implications for planning are considered.

Original languageEnglish
JournalChildren's Geographies
Volume16
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)279-291
Number of pages13
ISSN1473-3285
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4. May 2018

Keywords

  • Children’s dens
  • child–nature relationship
  • flat ontology
  • meshwork
  • morphogenesis
  • new materialism

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