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After Beslan: Childhood, complexity and risk

After Beslan: Childhood, complexity and risk

Jenks, Chris and Smith, John (2008) After Beslan: Childhood, complexity and risk. The British Journal of Sociology, 59 (3). pp. 501-518. ISSN 0007-1315 (Print), 1468-4446 (Online) (doi:

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This paper addresses the events at Beslan as a crisis point at which the postmodern celebration of difference spills into unbearable chaos. However this chaos turns out to show specific, dynamic or complex, self-organizing structures. Such dynamics, instead of obeying 'normal' ranges exhibit widely different scales of magnitude and intensity. Central to these interactions is the formation, however loose or opportunistic, of identities that also produce others: the formation of micro-ethnicities that state how the 'other' or out-group can be treated, mistreated or 'deconstructed'. At Beslan, this reaches a point of crisis which is both localized and universally challenging: it poses the problem of intolerability to a notion of democratic community and an epistemology premised on, and promising, pluralistic tolerance. The outcome is a realignment of sociology and the sociology of childhood along the axes of a model of human ecology.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: [1] First published online: 22 AUG 2008. [2] Published in print: September 2008. [3] Published as: British Journal of Sociology, (2008), Vol. 59, (3), pp. 501–518. [4] The British Journal of Sociology is published on behalf of the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Uncontrolled Keywords: complexity, sociology of childhood, risk, ecology, non-linear causality, Beslan
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
L Education > L Education (General)
Pre-2014 Departments: School of Education
School of Education > Department of Education & Community Studies
School of Education > Education Research Group
Related URLs:
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2016 09:10

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