Refiguration of Childhoods in the Context of Digitalization: A Cross-Cultural Comparison of Children's Spatial Constitutions of Well-Being


  • Tobia Fattore Macquarie University Sydney
  • Susann Fegter Technische Universität Berlin
  • Christine Hunner-Kreisel Universität Vechta



childhood, cross-cultural comparison, digitalization, evaluative differentiations, figurational sociology, methodological nationalism, qualitative research, refiguration of spaces, self-concepts, sociology of space, spatial analysis, well-being


Children's well-being has become the subject of attention in international comparative studies of childhood. The concept is central to understanding childhoods and generational orders within societies. Current challenges in conceptualizing children's well-being include addressing the normativity of well-being, how children themselves conceptualize well-being, and how this is embedded in social and cultural contexts. This is especially true with regard to the spatiality of well-being. How well-being is spatially constructed in children's narratives is rarely addressed by child well-being researchers. In this article, we assume that a better understanding of the spatiality of well-being will be helpful in disclosing the dynamics and characteristics of well-being. We offer findings from a multinational qualitative study to demonstrate the value of spatial analysis for understanding the social refiguration of childhoods beyond methodological nationalism. We draw upon examples from Baku (Azerbaijan), Geneva (Switzerland), Berlin (Germany), Sydney (Australia), and Tel Aviv (Israel). Our findings indicate that the exercise of agency, the democratization of childhoods, and the importance of having a translocal digital "own space" are significant norms central to and expressed in children's understandings of well-being. A structural feature of the current refiguration of childhoods is that it is always specific to local conditions.


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Author Biographies

Tobia Fattore, Macquarie University Sydney

Tobia FATTORE is a senior lecturer at the Department of Sociology, Macquarie University. His research areas include sociology of childhood, sociology of work, child protection, child well-being, sociology of organizations and institutions.

Susann Fegter, Technische Universität Berlin

Susann FEGTER is a professor for general and historical educational sciences at the Faculty of Humanities and Educational Sciences at Technische Universität Berlin. Her research areas include international childhood and youth studies, pedagogical professions, gender studies and social differences, discourse analysis, qualitative research, digital and urban childhoods.

Christine Hunner-Kreisel, Universität Vechta

Christine HUNNER-KREISEL is a professor for transculturality and gender at the University of Vechta. Her area of expertise is research on childhood and youth, and her research topics include growing up in migrant societies, migration and mobility processes in Germany and Azerbaijan, child and youth well-being with reference to questions of social inequalities.




How to Cite

Fattore, T., Fegter, S., & Hunner-Kreisel, C. (2021). Refiguration of Childhoods in the Context of Digitalization: A Cross-Cultural Comparison of Children’s Spatial Constitutions of Well-Being. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 22(3).



The Refiguration of Spaces and Cross-Cultural Comparison II