n a t a l n a t i o n a l i s m :
t h e p l a c e o f t h e c h i l d i n a m e r i c a n
c u l t u r a l s t u d i e s
his book begins with a simple assumption that has potentially far-
implications for identity-based discourses like feminist and
race studies, as well as for liberalist, social-contract, and psychoanalytic
theories: While the idea of the child’s difference from adults is a fact on
which social and civic institutions largely depend and on which a variety
of challenges to those same institutions have been premised, the notion
effortstorethinkthefullrangeof individuals’ethicalengagementsinaso-
cial world. Childhood is now widely regarded as a distinct developmental
child identity is warranted when we consider that the child automatically
complicates the very idea of identity that it seems at first to embody. An
the child refutes the constancyof individual identityeven as it represents
itsmostessentialpremisethateachself isstable.Inotherwords,despite—
ephemeral and contingent nature of identity, the child, as Adam Phillips
The trend over the last century to structure ever more social programs
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