Topic 7 - Childhood

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  • Topic 7 - Childhood
    • Social Construction of Childhood
      • The idea that it is created by society, it's not naturally occurring, it is subjective and effected by factors such as where you live, your gender, ethnicity, class etc.
    • Cross- Cultural Comparisons
      • Western Childhood
        • Is a protected and privileged time, it involves education, freedom, playfulness.
      • Childhood in developing countries
        • Townsend Study
          • 1/3 of children live in absolute poverty, 1/3 of children have never been to school, 1 in 5 children die before the age of 5 years-old
        • Benedict Study
          • Children have more responsibility, are seen as equals, there is not importance on being obedient to authority, their sexual behaviour is viewed differently
          • The idea of western childhood is spreading due to campaigns and charities but this is not necessarily a good thing, very ethnocentric and imposing.
    • Historical Comparisons
      • Aries Study
        • Looked at paintings of the medieval times, saw that children were "mini adults" and that they wore the same clothes, did the same activities, no toys means no notion of childhood
        • There are lots of criticisms of this saying how it is an artists interpretation, paintings are staged so may have worn 'best' clothes etc and it also only shows the middle class.
        • Theorised that the notion of childhood came about with industrialisation. Laws began to isolate and protect children, mass education made them different.
      • In the 19th Century there was no notion of childhood in the UK - Child labour was common, no notion that they needed to be treated differently protected and until 1870 Education Act there was no education to differentiate them.
    • Childhood today
      • Positive/ March of Progress view
        • Childhood today is positive, laws are there to protect children, childhood has improved greatly and will continue to.
      • Conflict View
        • Childhood is not good today, laws are there but they are too restrictive and reduce opportunities, childhood today is too controlled and it will get worse
      • Child-Centred Society
        • Society today revolves around children, shown but the amount of time and resources that parents spend on children, they take a bigger interest in activities and are treated as equals, they are a major priority and adults often make sacrifices for them.
        • There are also many more laws fore the welfare of children and there is a specific minister and commissioner for children.
        • There is welfare support, child social services, charities etc. all for children and their safety and happiness
        • There is free early years education/ childcare and compulsory schooling till the age of 18.
    • The Future of Childhood
      • Postman Study
        • Says that childhood is "disappearing at a dazzling speed" and children are once again becoming "mini adults" by wearing the same clothes, doing the same activites
        • Believes that childhood came about with mass literacy as this created a difference as children couldn't read.
        • Now technology, especially television and the internet is allowing children to access the adult world and blur the separation
        • Both are heavily criticised for over-emphasising the television for being a cause and ignoring other factors such as the law.
          • Palmer Study
            • Children have poor attention, listening and language skills and have behavioural problems and developmental conditions
            • This is due to not getting first hand experiences which they learn by because of too much television and other technology
      • Palmer Study
        • Children have poor attention, listening and language skills and have behavioural problems and developmental conditions
        • This is due to not getting first hand experiences which they learn by because of too much television and other technology

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