A Meta-Theoretical Discussion on Strengthening the Processual-Relational Sociology of Childhood


The relational sociology of childhood often has a structural character; however, the main problem is that the structural character largely confines the “ontological turn” in childhood studies. This is related to the fact that how structures are understood in relational analysis is mostly based on a one-way perspective: Structures are “systems of human relations between social positions”. In this context, this article problematizes the structural character of relational childhood ontology. In order to overcome the problem, we should trace alternative relational conceptualizations and show how we can work them in relational childhood sociology. Based on the processual character in hybrid-relational childhood ontology, this article argues which features of Elias and Dépelteau’s relational ontologies can be included in the relational ontology of childhood in order to strengthen the understanding of interdependence relations at the interactional level. The aim of the article is to make a theoretical contribution to the strengthening of the processual character in the relational analysis of childhood by drawing attention to the need for processual-relational childhood ontology as an alternative to the structural-relational perspective. Looking at children’s agency from a processual-relational perspective will further reveal the potential and capacity of children to transform their social worlds and social fields.


Relational ontology childhood agency-structure assemblage figuration trans-action structural-relational ontology processual-relational ontology.