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  • Created by: chinwe
  • Created on: 14-04-15 20:37
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  • Topic 2- Childhood
    • Childhood as a social construct
      • Sociologists see childhood as socially constructed- something created and defined by society
      • The western notion of childhood
        • Jane Pilcher(1995) notes t5he most important feature of the modern idea of childhood is separateness.
          • Childhood is seen as a clear and distinct life stage, and children in our society occupy a separate status from adults
            • This is emphasised in several ways, for example through laws regulating what children are allowed, required, or forbidden to do
      • Cross cultural differences in childhood
        • Ruth Benedict(1934) Argues that children in simpler, non-industrialised societies are generally treated differently from their modern western counterparts in three ways....
          • ...They take responsibility at an early age
          • ...Less value is placed on children showing obedience to adult authority
          • ...Childrens sexual behaviour is often viewed differenlty
      • Reasons for changes in the position of children
        • - Laws restricting child labour and excluding children from paid work
        • - The introduction of compulsory schooling in 1880 had a similar effect, especially for children of the poor (middle- and upper-class children were already receiving education)
        • - Child protection and welfare legalisation, such as the 1889 prevention of cruelty to children act
        • - The growth of the idea of children's rights
        • - Declining family size and lower infant mortality rates.
        • - Laws and policies that apply specifically to children, such as minimum ages for a wide range of activities from sex to smoking, have reinforced the idea that children are different to adults and so rules must be applied to their behaviour.
      • Historical differences in childhood
        • According to Aries(1960) elements of the modern notion of childhood gradually began to emerge from the 13th century onwards
          • Schools came to specialise purely in the education of the young
          • There was a growing distinction between childrens and adults clothing
    • Has the position of children improved?
      • The march of progress
        • The 'march of progress' argues that, over the past few centuries, the position of children in western societies has been steadily improving and today is better than it has ever been
      • The conflict View
        • Conflict sociologists such as Marxists and feminists argue that society is based on a conflict between different social groups, such as social classes or genders
        • Inequalities among children


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