Exploring embodied methodologies for transformative practice in early childhood and youth

Open access


The development of gendered identities during early childhood and youth occurs in a context of ‘body culture’ and the hyper-visibility of ‘perfect’ bodies, which align with traditional gender ideals. Embodied methods can assist to make complexity more visible, and to allow participants to see fluidity, shifts, and becoming. Whilst there has been significant theoretical development, further methodological innovations are needed to enable children and youth to articulate their perceptions of the way multiple influences shape their relations with their own bodies. Informed by ‘new materialist’ feminist theory this article will examine the work of Australian educators exploring use of creative and embodied drama-based play. The chapter advances methodologies to support pedagogical engagement with young children and youth about gender, identity and social change. The authors explore how embodied creative play can be used across ages to support children and young people to articulate the ways social norms and expectations influence their desires, imaginings, fears and actions and their perceptions of what is possible, desirable or appropriate in relation to performances of gender in their everyday worlds.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Alaimo S. & Hekman S. (2008). Introduction: Emerging models of materiality in feminist theory. In S. Alaimo & S. Hekman (Eds.) Material feminisms (pp. 1-19).

  • Bloomington & Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.

  • Barad K. (2007). Meeting the universe halfway: Quantum physics and the entanglement of matter and meaning. Durham & London: Duke University Press.

  • Braidotti R. (2013). The posthuman: John Wiley & Sons.

  • Butler J. (2004). Undoing gender. New York: Routledge.

  • Cahill H. (2005). Profound learning: Drama partnerships between adolescents and tertiary students. Drama Australia Journal (NJ) 29 (2) 59-72.

  • Cahill H. (2011). Drama for deconstruction. Youth Theatre Journal 25 (1) 16-31.

  • Cahill H. (2015). Rethinking role-play for health and wellbeing: Creating a pedagogy of possibilty. In K. Wright & J. McLeod (Eds.) Rethinking youth wellbeing: Critical perspectives (pp. 127-142). Singapore: Springer.

  • Coleman R. (2013). Sociology and the virtual: Interactive mirrors representational thinking and intensive power. The Sociological Review 61(1) 1-20.

  • Davis B. (2003). Frogs and snails and feminist tales. Cresskill USA: Hampton Press Inc.

  • Edwards R. & Fenwick T. (2014). Critique and politics: A sociomaterialist intervention. Educational Philosophy and Theory (ahead-of-print) 1-20.

  • Fox N. J. & Alldred P. (2014). The research-assemblage: A new materialist approach to social inquiry. Paper presented at the BSA Annual Conference Leeds.

  • Hickey-Moody A. (2015). Beside ourselves: Worlds beyond people. British Journal of Sociology of Education 36(5) 802-813.

  • Kuhn T. (1970). The Structure of scientific revolutions. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

  • Richardson L. & St. Pierre E. A. (2005). Writing: A method of enquiry. In N. Denzin & Y. Lincoln (Eds.) The sage handbook of qualitative research (pp. 959-978). Thousand Oaks: Sage.

  • Ringrose J. & Renold E. (2014). “F**k Rape!”: Exploring affective intensities in a feminist research assemblage. Qualitative Inquiry 20(6) 772-780.

  • Smith K. Alexander K. & D’Souza Juma A. (2014). Gender matters in the early childhood classroom. In K. Cologon (Ed.) A Good start: Inclusion in the early years. (pp. 134-151). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Smith K. (2013). Diversity dolls as a methodology tool for researching with children about issues of equity. International Journal of Equity and Innovation in Early Childhood. 11(1) 86-96.

  • Taylor A. (2013). Reconfiguring the natures of childhood. Milton Park: Routledge.

  • Taylor C. A. & Ivinson G. (2013). Material feminisms: New directions for education. Gender and Education 25(6) 665-670.

Journal information
Impact Factor

CiteScore 2018: 0.34

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.126
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.266

Cited By
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 418 155 8
PDF Downloads 219 110 8