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FERREIRA, Manuela  and  ROCHA, Cristina. “There is no sun without shadows”: virtues, impasses and limitations in documentary research on childhood and its education in Portugal. Educação. Porto Alegre [online]. 2020, vol.43, n.3, e37489. ISSN 1981-2582.

The visibility of childhood in contemporary Western societies, also felt in the Social Sciences and, in particular, in education research, is expressed in a growing area of studies dedicated to Childhood Education, which underlines the importance of documentary research to clarify and disseminate the “state of the art” or the “state of knowledge” produced. In this text, changes in thinking and practices regarding childhood and their education were scrutinized in documentary sources such as academic production (master's dissertations and doctoral theses), and in a documentary collection on the education and teaching press. Each of these sources provides valuable insights for observing the state of knowledge. In addition, the exploration of statistics on children as a documentary source, in order to grasp the lexicon with which they are referenced in statistical observation, and which went beyond to other fields. Accordingly, by presenting a set of documentary research in sources that allow the identification of the “state of the art” and the reflections raised, the authors return to their work on children, childhood and their education in Portugal, proposing: i) to present the various sources observed and discuss their virtues, impasses and limitations in this research modality; ii) to interrogate the search criteria - age -; iii) to explore the repertoire of designations found to classify and order the diversity of children and their biosocial conditions in childhood, thus contributing to the social (re)construction of childhood and children's education.

Keywords : childhood; education; state of art; documentary sources; age and designations of children.

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