Working Childhoods draws upon research in the Indian Himalayas to provide a theoretically-informed account of children's lives in a remote part of the world. The book shows that children in their pre-teens and teens are lynchpins of the rural economy, spending hours each day herding cattle, collecting leaves, and juggling household tasks with schoolwork. Through documenting in painstaking detail children's stories, songs, friendships, fears and tribulations, the book offers a powerful account of youth agency and young people's rich relationship with the natural world. The 'environment' emerges not only as a crucial economic resource but also as a basis for developing gendered ideas of self. The book should be essential reading for anyone interested in better understanding childhood, youth, the environment, and development within and beyond India - including anthropologists, sociologists, geographers, development studies scholars, and South Asianists.
Dr Jane Dyson is a Research Associate at the University of Oxford.
1. Working with young people in the Himalayas; 2. The High Himalayas; 3. A delicate dance: young people's work; 4. Herding, fun and difference; 5. Friendship in practice: collecting leaves in Bemni; 6. Harvesting identities: Mukku, gender and development; 7. Conclusions.