Otherness is everywhere to bring about your self
an inquiry into the whimsical emergence of children's selves
This chapter explores the process through which children's selves emerge in their sign-construction activities and discusses the nature of otherness that brings about this process. The discussion begins with examples of children's meaning construction observable in school education that clarifies who they are. In school education, not only lessons in classrooms that enable children's co-construction of meaning but also children's encounters with material environments have the potential for causing children's meaning construction. For understanding the emergence of children's selves in their meaning construction, I introduce the theoretical framework of the presentational self (Komatsu in Human Development 53:208–228, 2010) that sees children's selves not as their answers to researchers' questions (i.e., interview, questionnaire) but as what we observe in their meaning making, everyday conversations or writings of personal stories, for example. From this perspective, children's selves are inseparable from the contexts of the meaning construction and are not reproducible, inconsistent with many studies' presupposition that the self is an internal entity we have. As an explanation for this whimsical nature of meaning construction and the emergence of presentational selves, I propose that children's meaning construction develops depending on varying degree of otherness children feel in their encounters with environments. Further, children's repetitive encounters with the same object or person accomplished through their attending school are considered as what brings the variance of otherness children feel.
Komatsu, K. (2016)., Otherness is everywhere to bring about your self: an inquiry into the whimsical emergence of children's selves, in J. Valsiner, G. Marsico, N. Chaudhary & V. Dazzani (eds.), Psychology as the science of human being, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 287-297.
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