Inspired by a central concept in the sociology of childhood – that of ‘place’ – this paper explores how childhood is constructed and experienced in an atypical place for childhood to unfold. The place in question is a refuge for women and their children who have experienced violence in the intimate sphere. In this paper, ‘place’ has a dual meaning as referring to both social positions and physical locations. Employing this dual concept to investigate an atypical place provides insight into the dynamics that shape childhood space. Based on ethnographic fieldwork and interviews with children, the analysis shows how children negotiate children’s places in challenging circumstances in a semi-public setting. It uncovers the plurality of children’s places and how these are shaped by the children’s positions in a protective context. The plurality of children’s places becomes apparent by paying attention to the temporality of these places, which foregrounds the relational qualities and fields of power that contribute to the shaping of childhood space.
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