Topic 2: Childhood for Families and Households

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  • Created by: Megnicpip
  • Created on: 04-06-18 14:47
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  • Topic 2: Childhood
    • Childhood as a Social Construct
      • what people mean by childhood, and the position children occupy in society, is not fixed but differs between cultures, different times and places
      • The Modern Western Notion of Childhood
        • Children are regarded as physically and psychologically immature, therefore they need lengthy periods of protective nurturing and socialisation before they are ready for adult society
        • Pilcher: childhood is seen as a clear and distinct life stage where children occupy as seperate status to adults
        • Childhood is a Golden Age
          • less responsibility
          • no monetary worries
          • years of fun and learning
        • Wagg: childhood is socially constructed, there is no single universal childhood therefore childhood isnt natural and should be distinguished from just biological immaturity
      • Cross Cultural Differences in Childhood
        • Benedict:children in non-industrial societies are generally treated differently in three ways:they take responsibility at an early stage, less value is placed on children showing obedience, children's sexual behaviour is viewed differently
          • Holmes: 'too young' was never given as a reason for why a child could not do a particular task
          • Firlh: Tikopia of the western pacific, doing as you are told by a grown up is considered acceptable only by the child; it is not a right to be expected of an adult
          • Malinowski: adults took an attitude of tolerance and acceptance towards children's sexual explorations and activities
      • Dominant Framework: Prout and James
        • Children are simple as as they do not have the capability of sophisticated, complex thinking
        • childhood and adulthood are at opposite ends
        • Wyness: your age dictated your stage of development . Piggetss work used scientific methods to establish milestone events therefore his research dominated the dominant framework
        • Evaluation
          • Jackson et al: experience of childhood is shaped by class, gender, disability therefore it cannot be generalised
          • childhood does not follow a predictable stage of development it varies place to place and through time periods
          • Mayall: it is cultural bias towards Western countries
    • Historical Differences in Childhood
      • Aries argues that in the Middle Ages the idea of childhood did not exist
        • Began work from an early stage
        • Same rights, duties and skills as adults
        • Faced the same severe punishments as adults
        • For evidence he uses works of art: children are shown in the same clothing as adults and show no characteristics of modern childhood
        • He argues we have moved from a world where childhood was not important to one obsessed by it
        • Evaluation
          • *******: it is more correct to say that in the middle ages there was a different notion of childhood than that of today
          • His work is invaulable as it shows childhood as socially constructed
      • Parental attitudes were also different, Shorter: high death rates encouraged indifference and neglect especially towards infants
      • Shorter uses a variety of evidence to explain and describe childhood
        • motherhood and the concept of 'love'
        • ideas of children being born good
        • ideas on how to raise children
    • Reasons for the Changes in Position of Children
      • growth of children rights
      • laws applying specifically to chidlren
      • introduction of compulsory education
      • laws restricting child labour
      • higher standards of living decreasing child morality rate
      • Postman claims that childhood is disappearing
        • he suggested that communication technology shapes society
        • with the introduction of tv and other forms of communication the lines have been blurred with more access to the adult world
        • Evaluation
          • This is more complex-children are more protected and more controlled-several trends happening at once
          • Opie: there is a clear distinction between children's culture and adults-established through her research on children's playing activities
    • Sociological Views
      • March of Progress
        • Position of children is steadily improving and is better than it has ever been
        • Child-Centered: higher living standards and smaller family sizes means parents have more money, parents invest in their children emotionally and often have higher aspirations for them
          • Jenks Post Modernity Argument
            • Evaluation: small, unrepresentative samples, over-generalising, limited evidence
            • Childhood continues to be a separate status
            • pace of change speed up and relationships become unstable therefore relationships with children become more important
        • Toxic Childhood: a UNICEF survey ranked the UK 16th out of 29 for child wellbeing, Palmer: rapid technology and cultural changes have damaged children psychological, emotional and intellectual development
      • The Conflict View
        • Children today experience greater control, oppression and dependency
        • Inequalities among children
          • Ethnic: Bhatti: ideas of IZZAT could be a restriction especially on girls behaviour
          • Gender: Blake: girls do more domestic labour, Hillman: boys are more likely to be allowed to use buses, cycle on roads and go out after dark
          • Class:poorer children are more likely to die in infancy, to be shorter in height, children of unskilled workers are three times more likely to suffer from hyperactivity
        • Acces to resources: pocket money comes with restrictions, state beneft goes to the parent not the child, excluded from part time employment
    • Social Structure
      • Feminst View
        • Similarities: both subordinate to men, prone to victims of abuse, lack ful social status
        • Wyness: sometimes of feminism that priorities  women over children
        • Marxist View
          • Marx et al: children are a cheap source of labour
          • Social Structure
            • Feminst View
              • Similarities: both subordinate to men, prone to victims of abuse, lack ful social status
              • Wyness: sometimes of feminism that priorities  women over children
              • Marxist View
                • Marx et al: children are a cheap source of labour
            • Types of Childhood
              • Present Tense
                • should not be seen as a preparation for adulthood
                • their vulnerability comes from the way society treats them
                • powerlessness of children is not inevitabe
              • New Sociology
                • recognises the competence of children as social actors
                • Mayall emphasises the importance of the childs opinion and values
      • Types of Childhood
        • Present Tense
          • should not be seen as a preparation for adulthood
          • their vulnerability comes from the way society treats them
          • powerlessness of children is not inevitabe
        • New Sociology
          • recognises the competence of children as social actors
          • Mayall emphasises the importance of the childs opinion and values

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