Childhood in time and space

What does it mean to be a child or youth, here and there, now and then? In what way do children's / young people's lifestyles and the conditions in an increasingly globalized and digitalized world differ from previous generations?

Child and youth science at Uppsala University

Research on child and youth is an interdisciplinary field where children's and young people's different living conditions and activities are considered. We study children's and young people's identity and socialization processes in different social arenas such as family, housing, preschool / school / higher education, work and leisure, and how such processes interact with gender, ethnicity and social class etc. Child and youth science critically examine conditions in the lives of children and young people as well as how they experience and handle structural openings and restraints in their everyday lives.

We conduct research on segregation, migration, mobility and education, how gender is constructed, children's and young people's use of digital media, young children's presence in public environments, young people's participation in society through associations and politics, transitions within the education system as well as between school and work. A newly introduced theme is the emergence of a ‘young adulthood’ in the intersection between youth and adulthood.

We often link our research to a geographical theme where spatial place is emphasized in children’s and young people’s everyday interaction and mobility. The theme of spatiality revolves around children's use of inner-city environments, young people's sense of context and integration in various suburbs or deals with issues of growing up in sparsely populated areas. We also study changes over the years and what are recurring patterns in different generations of children and young people.

The questions raised through a generational perspective are whether there are lasting generational effects in young people’s values or if differences in values and behaviors are dependent on life stage changes and in what ways do today's life patterns and conditions among children and young people in an increasingly globalized and digitalized world differ from previous generations' conditions?

The research in child and youth science at EDU is conducted within the framework of educational and social science traditions. We build on theoretical and methodological development in areas such as ethnology, sociology and pedagogy. We also work with perspectives on historical development based on methods adapted to different types of historical source material.

We collaborate internally at Uppsala University with the research group CLIP (Studies in Childhood, Learning and Identity as Interactional Practitioners) led by Professor Ann-Carita Evaldsson.


Peter Waara


Magdalena CederingAnn-Carita EvaldssonKatarina GustafsonEsbjörn LarssonKarin LitsnerJörgen MattlarFarzaneh MoinianGöran NygrenAnne-Sofie NyströmSara Backman PrytzHassan SharifJohanna Svahn

Research network, educational assignments and collaboration

In addition to the internal collaboration at Uppsala university, there are several established national research networks with Stockholm University, Luleå University of Technology, Malmö University, University of Gävle.

Our international network consists of: Åbo Akademi University (FI), the Finnish Youth Research Society (FI), the University of Tromsø NO), Lancaster University (UK), the University of Amsterdam and the University of Genth (NL).

Our assignment also includes education at the undergraduate and master level in child and youth science. See the education catalog. We are also involved in the preschool teacher- and teacher educations at Uppsala University. In addition, there is also the opportunity to offer external commissioned training.

Our research area is relevant not least for municipalities' planning and management of children and young people within the education system. Organized leisure activities are also important for the sense of context and can be designed to create important learning and motivation-creating environments. Based on the university's external commissions, we have developed extensive experience of collaborating with public and private actors on issues that have to do with children's and young people's learning and participation in society.

Ongoing or recently completed research projects

  • The whole city as a preschool yard? Challenges and opportunities for inner-city preschools' mobility and space for play in dense urban environments. Project manager Katarina Gustafson (Formas)
  • Learning in the city spatial aspects of a mobile preschool pedagogy. Project leader Katarina Gustafson (Swedish Research Council)
  • Learning in politics and young people’s engagement in Civic society. Project manager Peter Waara
  • The Unexpected Scientists: A Study of What Enabled Students from Under-Represented Groups to Continue to Higher Science Education. Project leader Anna Danielsson (Swedish Research Council).
  • Staging the successful student in higher education: A comparative study of men, masculinities, and self-worth protecting strategies in competitive contexts. Project manager Anne-Sofie Nyström (Swedish Research Council)

Last modified: 2024-02-01