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This collection of studies following a preface by the editor, argues that in the modern West, over the last twenty years, the way in which childhood is understood has taken a distinct shape. The authors contest that governing the self may once have been a matter between man and God, but it is now and has been for the last 2 centuries or more a matter for the state as well. ""Governing childhood"" was chosen as a theme for its connotations of social construction and intimate management both within and outside State regulation, a concept which embraces the diverse forms and nuances of the conduct of childhood. The articles are concerned with how we envision and regulate childhood stating that it tell us as much about ourselves as a people or state as it does about the lives of our children. ""Governing Childhood"" is a concept which invites the centring of childhood in social and legal studies.