Childhood through the ages


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  • In pre industrial society children were little adults They were an economic asset – they were expected to help the family unit of production
  • Childhood & Industrialisation WC attitudes stayed the same but MC attitudes started to change in the mid 19 th century Campaigners fought against children working in mines and factories Schooling became important for the MC
  • From being economic assets who could earn a wage, children became and economic liability, financially dependent on their parents. Laws and policies on minimum ages have reinforced the idea that children are different from adults and so different rules must be applied to behaviour
  • Childhood and adolescence were seen as separate categories from adulthood.- minimum ages for sex to smoking Children’s Rights - Child Protection and welfare legislation e.g. 1889 Prevention of Cruelty to Children Act Child centered means that children are valued, loved and protected The 20th century became ‘child centred’ Health and diet improved and the infant mortality rate declined. The 20 th century saw the increasing need to protect children via a number of pieces of legislation.   1945 Butler Education Act – schooling for all 5-15 (Raised to 16 in 1972) The Children Act 1989 – giving more rights to children
  • Child abuse can be physical, sexual or emotional.
  • Childhood through the ages

    1. 1. ChildhoodAnother major issue within the Sociology of Families & Households isthat of childhood. There are 3 main issues that must be examinedwithin this topic: > Childhood as a Social Construction > The changing position of children in families & society. > The future of childhood.Your learning objectives for this topic are as follows:> To understand why childhood is seen as a social construction> To know the reasons for these changing constructions (particularly incontemporary society)> To be able to analyse & evaluate different views of the position ofchildren today.> To be able to analyse & evaluate different views of the future ofchildhood.
    2. 2. The Social Construction of ChildhoodThroughout many societies (particularly western societies) it isassumed that children need a lengthy, protected period of time ofnurturing and socialising to prepare them for ‘Adult’ society.Make a table with the following headings: Childhood Teenage Adulthood Old Age
    3. 3. ildhood Wagg (199 5): ‘Modern Ch 2):Pilcher (199 eparatenes s’. oug h S ‘Childhood isis defined thr age socially r, distinct life st constructed . It is in oth It is a clea s i.e. in ter m s of words, wha er adult t members sep arate from particular s of ocieties, at status. particular t are ha t w a y s t s particular p imes & in In w laces, say it a dul There is no is children and single unive . ’? childhood, e rsal ‘separate xperienced by all’. Childhood is often viewed as a ‘Golden Age’, an age of innocence. As such, many societies see childhood as a period of life that requires protection and ‘quarantine’ from adult life. Can you think of any evidence of this?
    4. 4. ildhood: ifferences in ChCross-Cultural D reated Ruth Childh ood used to be t ies in t e-industrial societ Benedic differently in pr (1934) 3 ways: r age. ib ility at an earlie 1) More respons ar-olds are out that in rural Bolivia that 5 ye Punch (2001) points s in the home. ork responsibilitie expected to take w dult ced o n obedience to a 2) Less value pla authority. ic believe e Tikopia of the Western Pacif Firth (1 970) found that th rights to dismiss o rders from ll within their th at children are we spect. us t earn the child’s re parents . Parents m erently iour is Viewed diff 3) Sexual Behav e Trobriand Malinowski (1 957) found that th nt of est Pacific) were tolera Islanders (South W lorations. ch ildren’s sexual exp
    5. 5. ood: rences in ChildhHistorical Diffe ion of r ‘cont emporary’ not Aries ( 1973) argues that ou th & 17th centurie s. he 16 ot emerge until t fe. c hildhood did n lly a dis tinct time of li Prior to this it was not rea at child Link to Parsons late 19 century th ’ th It wasn’t until the children ‘Functional Fit practice with many labour was common n were an Theory’. starting work at 7 years-old (Childre family) ECONOMIC ASSET within the men rarelyPatriarchal families meant that upbringing ofhad anyt hing to do with thetheir children. in the Shorter (1 975) Children e late 19 th p to t h middle ages (u with often treated century) were ths ue to high dea indifference d onds. It of emotional b rates i.e. Lack t s to mon for paren was not uncom had. il dren they had forget how ch
    6. 6. Aries (1975): The 20th Century has become the ‘Age of the child’ i.e. families , and society in general, have become ‘CHILD-CENTRED’. The position of children has vastly improved since the middle ages. Why might the position of children improved since the middle ages? aw The Media & M Changes in the L oral ts) (Children’s Righ Panics Compulsory Education Consumerism Smaller Familie s InfantPaediatrics: Decrease in te & ‘the science of Mortality Ra Increased ivorce childhood’ Welfare State Increase in D Affluence Rate
    7. 7. As you can see, childhood is seen as a ‘Creation’ of society, a ‘Social Construction’ which is open to adaption and change.The changes to childhood that we have considered are often viewed as positivechanges. There is however conflicting debate whether the position of children has improved or not. (SEE READING MATERIAL).
    8. 8. ChildhoodThrough the ages
    9. 9. What do you think are the age boundariesfor the following:• Childhood• Adolescence (teenagers).• Adulthood
    10. 10. John and Jake• Compare John and Jake’s lives.• Write a list of the differences between their lives.• Can John still be classed as a child?
    11. 11. Childhood is a socialconstruction. It is createdby society rather thansimply a biological stage. Different societies anddifferent historical periodshave different ideas aboutwhat is a child and what isexpected of a child
    12. 12. Thinking…..• What did Philippe Aries say about childhood in pre-industrial society?• Page 30
    13. 13. Children in pre-industrial society• Philippe Aries (1962): • Childhood as we know today did not exist. • Children were ‘little adults’ who took part in the same work and play activities that adults did. • Toys and games for children did not exist!!! • Children were seen as an economic asset as opposed to a symbol of love. Attaching emotional value to children was hard because the death rate was so high. • Therefore Childhood is a recent SOCIAL INVENTION!
    14. 14. • Aries claims were based on contemporary letters, diaries and other documents as well as the way children were depicted at the time• Why might there be problems in using evidence such as paintings and diaries to understand life?
    15. 15. Childhood and Industrialisation• Aries argued that middle-class attitudes started to change during this period.• There was a growth in maternal and paternal love as the infant mortality rate started to fall.• During the 19th Century children were excluded from working in mines and factories where thousands had been injured or killed. Working class parents resisted this – why do you think this is the case?
    16. 16. Evaluation• Aries has been criticised for overstating his case• There were laws in medieval Europe e.g. – Prohibition of the marriage of children under 12• Many historians agree with this view, however.• M/C-U/C families probably did not send children out to work
    17. 17. Support for Aries:• Shorter Pinchbeck & Hewitt all agreed with Aries, because they believed that children became adults at a young age. Shorter stated that families viewed the well being of infants under two with little indifference. Pinchbeck and Hewitt said that the family was an essential unit of social organisation and that adults were the same as children because they were both part of a large extended family. Criticism of Aries:• Pollack: thought that childhood was always a different phase of life because the mortality rate was exaggerated and surviving children were well cared for.• Fuller: says that Aries didn’t see how the welfare state was growing to protect children.
    18. 18. Childhood and Industrialisation• Cunningham (2006) saw the social construction of childhood by adults.• Childhood has three main characteristics.
    19. 19. First Characteristic• It was the opposite of adulthood: children were seen to need protection, and were dependent upon adults.
    20. 20. Second Characteristic• The world of the adult and the world of children were kept separate.• The home and the school were regarded as the ideal places for children and were often banned from adult places (like the PUB!!!)
    21. 21. Third Characteristics• Children were seen to have the right to happiness.
    22. 22. However …• Children were still treated badly.• Child prostitution and abuse were common features of most cities.• It was not until the turn of the 20th Century that the age of sexual consent was raised to 16.
    23. 23. Check your Understanding• How were children treated pre-industrialisation?• How did Industrialisation change the concept of childhood?• What were Cunningham’s three major characteristics of childhood?• Are there any criticisms of Cunningham’s view?
    24. 24. What reasons do you thinkexist for the modern idea of Childhood?
    25. 25. A few more on page 30
    26. 26. Childhood in the 20 Centuryth• Major decline in the infant mortality rate- encouraged parents to make greater financial and emotional investment in the fewer children they have• The higher standard of living meant that children were expensive.• The increased availability in contraception• The emergence of a child-centred society
    27. 27. What caused the changes?• Most sociologists agree that industrialisation- shift from agriculture to factory production as the basis of the economy- underlies many of the reasons outlined• Modern industry needs an educated workforce and this requires compulsory schooling of the young.• Industrialisation key to bring about the modern idea of childhood and the changed status of children
    28. 28. • Why might childhood today not be a positive experience?
    29. 29. Why might childhood today not be a positive experience?• Child abuse exists however it is difficult to measure the extent as it generally goes on behind closed doors.• Bullying takes place in many schools• Divorce has increased and many sociologists particularly functionalists and the New Right argue this has a very negative effect on children.
    30. 30. Neglect and Abuse• In 2006 31,400 children were on child protection registers (mostly seen at risk from their own parents)• ChildLine  20,000 calls a year (sexual or physical abuse)• ‘Dark side’ of the family
    31. 31. Check your understanding• What changes to childhood occurred in the 20th century?• What has lead to parents being able to give their children more love and protection?• Why are childhood and adolescence seen as separate categories from adulthood?
    32. 32. Childhood and the state• The growing concern in protecting children has spread to government policies.• There is a compulsory education system, that lasts 11 years (longer now!)• Social services work with children and families to limit the risk to children’s wellbeing.
    33. 33. Childhood and the state• Child Benefit and Tax Credits.• 2004 Children Act and Every Child Matters.• The setting up of the Department for Children, Schools and families (2007)
    34. 34. Childhood and the state• Children Support Act (1991): • Protects and helps children who have had to deal with parents divorcing. • Recently children have used this act to actually DIVORCE their PARENTS!!! • Other children have used the act to force their divorced parents to see them more.
    35. 35. Check your Understanding• Why are there so many policies relating to children?• What policies are there to protect children?
    36. 36. Changing nature of childhoodWhat reasons can you think of for the emergence of childhood as we know it today????
    37. 37. Childhood through the ages• v=zB2gPZRsz0Q• v=CaZONLaB1aQ