Sociocultural Dimensions of Childhood

Ed. by Petya Bankova, Michelle Janning, Aude Le Guennec,  Elya Tsaneva and Violeta Periklieva. Sofia: Prof. Marin Drinov Publishing House of Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, 2020. ISBN 978-619-245-029-8

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The volume we have in hands resembles a variegated and excitingly diverse children’s kaleidoscope that we all remember from our childhood; it embraces the most significant and brightest of the topic and presents it to the readers dynamically, logically, by glaring field and situational examples and strong conclusions. The collection consists of 28 chapters which were presented as papers at the conference of the same name initiated and hosted by IEFSEM – BAS in the late October 2018. The concept and organization of the conference were a happy thematic find and a brave creative idea of a team of ethnologists and folklorists working – mainly or secondarily – on various aspects of the childhood topic. The conference was attended by 78 scholars from 25 countries who shared problems, views, theses and plans in an atmosphere of mutual understanding and common language, of interest, cordiality and sympathy. The several thematic panels of the conference were subsequently structured in the publication in three sections which present the main problems not only of the papers but also of Ethnology of Childhood as a significant anthropological and ethnological field.

As Petya Bankova, the initiator and the main force of the event, puts it in her introductory words: “The conference also raised the question of the need for a new format for the collection and presentation of scientific achievements in the field of childhood research”. This volume seeks such format and offers it in terms of texts and structure: three independent and original introductions to the topic as part of the “Editorial”, followed by the sections, each forming by means of its chapters a general summary directing the researcher’s mind and thus offering three separate fundamental problematic fields of research. This makes the volume a complex text with constitutive role in the development of the topic. The quality editorial work (the efforts of the main Bulgarian as well as foreign editors) supplemented by the professional work of the art and editorial team of the Publishing House of BAS, the incessant support of IEFSEM – BAS and the comradely gesture of the UNESCO Regional Centre that funded the publication are the reason for the existence of this wonderful collection. As a publication fact, it crowns a meaningful academic work and presents the most powerful role and professional value of the united body of ethnologists and folklorists.

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