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2003 - International Communication Association Pages: 15 pages || Words: 3667 words || 
1. Kidwell, Mardi. "How very young children use gaze avoidance to resist caregiver interventions in their acts of misconduct" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, Marriott Hotel, San Diego, CA, May 27, 2003 Online <.PDF>. 2019-11-17 <>
Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: In this paper, I show how very young children (between the ages of 1 and 2 ½ years) use “gaze avoidance” as a method of resisting caregivers’ efforts to intervene in their activities, specifically their acts of misconduct toward other children. When children hit, bite, push, or take toys away from others, caregivers routinely seek to halt their activities. As part of a course of intervention that usually involves both verbal and physical moves, caregivers seek to bring their eye gaze in line with the children’s, particularly when children are slow to give up their line of misconduct. Indeed, children’s avoidance of the caregiver’s gaze is treated by the caregiver as specifically constituting a course of resistance, even defiance. As part of a strategy of securing compliance from “misbehaving” children, caregivers insist on the children’s return gaze as they address them, and treat the absence of return gaze itself as a sanctionable matter, one that is closely tied up with children’s refusal to comply. An important issue raised in this paper is that of very young children’s agency with respect to how such a basic and pervasive interactional resource as being able to regulate where one looks enables them to persist in their own interactional projects, in spite of others’ efforts to get them to stop.

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