Call For Papers: More than Words for Working with Children and Families, Volume 7, No. 2, April, 2020


Call For Papers: More than Words for Working with Children and Families, Volume 7, No. 2, April, 2020

Editors: Dr. Verity Campbell-Barr and Dr. Marie Lavelle, University of Plymouth, UK

International interest in the lives and development of young children has resulted in an increased examination of those who work with children and families. Premised on the grounds of supporting equality of opportunity, whilst laying the foundations to children’s lifelong learning, there is a scrutiny of what those who work with and alongside children and families are expected to know to be successful professionals. However, within technocratic models of accountability, the good professional is the one who can achieve the desired outcomes. Professional knowledge is reduced to that which can be described and documented, dwelling on logic and reason, with an underlying assumption that we are not professional if we cannot account for something (Shotter 2015). Further, the singular of ‘knowledge’ implies a solitary way of knowing, whereby there is one knowledge to inform working with children and families, as opposed to a complex intermingling of knowledges. A focus on knowledges not only opens up multiple ways of knowing, but also a consideration of the different ways of knowing and how these might be articulated (Campbell-Barr 2017). 

If we return to the same words to describe work with children and families, we can only travel the same paths of knowing. Describing work with children and families risks becoming reduced to the lowest common denominator of what we are willing to say (or not) about working with children and families. However, there is much about knowing that is beyond words. Even the distinction between the deliberative thinking self and the thinking that just happens implies a form of knowing that is located in the mind. Knowledges and ways of knowing have been constructed within Cartesian mind/body splits; cerebral, cognitive, contained as opposed to the affective, the embodied (Murris 2016). The embodied extends to consider the interconnected, intermingled, connections between bodies (and other objects) that develop other forms of knowing. As babies, there is an acceptance that we do not have the words to express our thinking, but we develop an attunement to others, learning to read facial expressions, tone and intonation (Shotter 2015). Acknowledging that what is known is more than words opens up alternatives for considering the knowledgeable self.

As we move beyond the purely linguistic this special issues seeks to explore embodied forms of knowing, gut feelings, intuition, which would ordinarily be cast aside for evidenced based knowledge. Our interpretation of ‘working’ is not confined to a consideration of paid employment, recognising the history of feminist traditions of identifying areas such as parental (even sibling or child) ‘work’ and emotional labour. Further, the focus on ‘working with children and families’ is to acknowledge the broad spectrum of professionals that intermingle in their lives, such as health, education, care, social and legal services. Submissions should therefore establish the working context they are addressing whilst considering some of the following:

  • Theoretical conceptions of knowledges for working with children and families
  • Challenges to the Cartesian mind/body split
  • Embodied knowing
  • Conceptions of working with and alongside children and families
  • Professional knowledge(s)

Please send an abstract in 12-point font of no more than 250 words to: by June 30, 2019. Please put Global Education Review in the subject line. Abstracts will be reviewed by the guest editors and you will be informed if you are invited to submit a full article by July 15, 2019. Full manuscripts are due by November 1, 2019.

Authors of articles invited for review are required to participate in a blind review of two articles submitted for publication in the same issue.



Campbell-Barr, V. (2017). "The silencing of the knowledge-base in early childhood education and care professionalism." International Journal of Early Years Education, 1-15.

Murris, K. (2016). The Posthuman Child, London: Routledge.

Shotter, J. (2015). "On being dialogical: An ethics of 'attunement'." Context, 137, 8-12.