Friday, 31 March 2023 to Sunday, 2 April 2023

Children and Childhood spaces during Transformation period in Lithuania



Goda Damaseviciute
1 Vilnius University, Lithuania


Childhood in Lithuania after the break of the Soviet Union was formed between two poles - socialism and capitalism. These interacting poles changed the entire social, cultural, and economic environment, as well as everyday practices. One of those was children’s activity in their childhood spaces and their understanding. Despite the fact that transformative societal processes are broadly analyzed themes, the life experiences of children and childhood spaces are not thoroughly researched. The main focus of this paper is how children understood their spaces, and what experiences they associated it, with focusing on the Transformation period in Lithuania that took place between 1980 and 2010. The main research method is biographical interview analysis. Theoretical approach is taken from Children’s Geography studies and Karl Mannheim’s generational theory. The aim is to show the perception, activity, mobility and experiences of children in their childhood spaces. Data from biographical interviews with people born in the period 1980-2000 reveal an essential childhood space - the yard, which includes different meanings, practices, rules, accessibility, emotions. The yard is a significant symbolic and material space and was perceived, accessed and used on the basis of different factors. Stories of the yard appear as a formative factor for the biographical identity or in relation to socio-cultural changes of the Transformation.