4 - Critical Consciousness in Early to Middle Childhood

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



The literature on critical consciousness (CC) has seen rapid growth in the past ten years. However, the literature has given very little attention to CC in preadolescent children. In this chapter, we contend that the sociopolitical and civic elements of early to middle childhood development have been understudied. Emphasizing the familial, social, and educational systems that structure the lives of young children, we elaborate on the evidence that young children hold the capacity for understanding social inequities, becoming empowered to work for social change, and acting against injustice, and we provide concrete examples of how CC might be identified and measured at different stages of the early childhood developmental period. In addition, we show that the structural emphasis of the CC literature and related literatures (e.g., work on critical race theory) adds much-needed context to the study of bias and stereotyping in early childhood.






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