The concept of growth is surely ubiquitous in childhood studies: growth as weight gain against a variety of norms; growth as natural, as universal, and cross-cultural; growth as panic in the context of obesity and of anorexia and so on; pathologies of growth and the effects of the obstruction of the proper, natural course of growth; growing fast, growing slow, ‘growing up too soon’, and ‘all grown up’. Growth is paradigmatically scientific and medical, and its patina of objectivity, precision, and professionalised expertise is daunting. Yet, for that very reason, it is important for scholars of childhood to step back from the status claimed by this concept and by the practices that surround it and maintain its power. ‘Growing up’ has its dark sides as ...

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