Explain what is meant by „childhood as a social construct‟ Outline the historical and cross cultural differences in childhood Evaluate the different Sociological Perspectives on Childhood
Produce a mind map of all the things you associate with childhood TheRaccoons Theme Song Run With Us Music Video - YouTube
What is a social construct? Something which is „made‟ or „constructed‟ by society. Sociologistsargue that childhood is not fixed, it differs between, time, place and culture.
“Childhood is socially constructed. It is, in other words, what members of particular societies, at particular times and in particular places say it is. There is no single universal childhood experienced by all. So childhood isn‟t “natural” and should be distinguished from mere biological immaturity.”
In pairs come up with some examples of how you think childhood may differ across, time, place and culture.
Withyour partner make a list of all the ways in which we distinguish adults and children in modern UK society
Ruth Benedict argues that children in non-industrial societies are generally treated differently from children in the industrialised west in three key ways:1. They take responsibility at an early age.2. Less value placed on children showing obedience to adult authority.3. Children‟s sexual behaviour is often viewed very differently.
Aries (1960) argues that in the middle ages childhood simply did not exist. Childhood as a separate stage was very short, soon after weaning the child was very much on the same terms as an adult, beginning to work from an early age, children were „mini adults.‟ Aries used works of art from period as evidence where children were depicted in the same way as adults – only smaller!
Shorter (1975) also argues that parental attitudes were very different in the middle ages, he sais that high death rates amongst children led to indifference and neglect. It was not uncommon for people to forget how many children they had, call a new infant the same name as a dead sibling or refer to a baby as „it.‟
Schools started to By the C18th specialise in the handbooks on education of the childrearing became young. widely available. Growing distinction There was increasing between children‟s child-centredness and adults clothing. amongst the middle By the C17th an upper classes. class boy would wear Aries says that we clothes reserved for now have a modern his age group. “cult of childhood.”
Activity 3 Laws restricting child labourWhat changes have Economic asset tooccurred in society economic liabilityin order for Educationchildhood to become Child Protection Thea „Separate and Children‟s Actdistinct‟ life stage? (1989) Children‟s Rights – UN Convention on Rights of the Child (1989)
Suggest 3 ways in which childhood has become a „speciallyprotected‟ time of life. (6)Now peer assess…Laws come into force protecting childrenPeople have children for different reasons, not economicasset any longer, nurture and care for themChildren are not allowed to work they now go to schoolAgencies which protect children that didn‟t exist in the past
Theposition of children has been steadily improving and today it is better than it has ever been. Lloyd De Mause (1974)‘The history of childhood from which we haveonly recently begun to awaken. The furtherback in history one goes, the lower the levelof childcare and the more likely children areto be killed, beaten, terrorised and sexuallyabused.’
Marxists and feminists dispute the view held by MOP Sociologists There are inequalities amongst children The inequalities between adults and children are greater than ever – they experience greater control, oppression and dependency
Come up with examples for your given topic and state the impact on the child1. Inequalities between children2. Control over children‟s space3. Control over children‟s time4. Control over children‟s bodies5. Control over children‟s access to resources
Term to describe the inequalities between adults and children, just as the term is used to describe oppression of women against men. „Ruled by the father‟
Postman (1994) argues that childhood is now disappearing The distinction between adults and children is now blurred Activity 4 – provide examples
Disappearance of childhood games GrowingBooks, games similarity in clothing Similarities between children and adults Children Television committing culture adult crimes
Iona Opie;Believes unlike Postman, there is a strong existence of childhood, children create their own independence separate from adults.
International humanitarian agencies who help „vulnerable‟ children Thewest decides that these children are mal-treated
Sue Palmer Childhood has become „toxic‟ In what ways has it become toxic?
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