The Crisis of the “Disadvantaged Child”: Poverty Research, IQ, and Muppet Diplomacy in the 1960s
Article first published online: 11 JUL 2013
© 2013 The Author. Antipode © 2013 Antipode Foundation Ltd.
Volume 46, Issue 1, pages 190–208, January 2014
How to Cite
Jackson, P. S. B. (2014), The Crisis of the “Disadvantaged Child”: Poverty Research, IQ, and Muppet Diplomacy in the 1960s. Antipode, 46: 190–208. doi: 10.1111/anti.12027
- Issue published online: 6 JAN 2014
- Article first published online: 11 JUL 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 30 APR 2013
- Manuscript Revised: 11 MAR 2013
- Manuscript Received: 24 JAN 2012
- surplus population
In the early 1960s, the US federal government deemed poverty to be a national crisis, and actively intervened to solve this problem. My question for this article is how did preschool education become a key site to remedy this crisis? Government interventions were a combination of poverty research, racialized politics, and child development. I show how the discipline of early childhood education cohered around the term “disadvantaged child”, in turn influencing the War on Poverty policies, including the basis of Head Start preschool education. During this same decade proponents of Sesame Street—with private funding, along with extensive testing mechanisms by consultants—argued that the television could reach more children, therefore be more cost effective. This paper investigates how surplus populations became determined and demarcated, as early as three years old. I question how televised preschool taught “affective skills” and proper social relations during times of political crisis.