Notes on childhood

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An essay question could be:
Assess the sociological explanations of changes in the status of
Reasons, strengths weaknesses can be used in 4, 6 mark questions. Key terms
can be used in 2 mark questions.
A social construct:
Something that is created and defined by society
Sociologists argue that what people mean by childhood, and the position
children occupy in society is not fixed but differs across cultures and time.
The Western Child
Pilcher states childhood is a distinct life stage, separate from that of an adult.
This separateness is emphasised by
Different rules
Different toys, food, play areas
We see childhood as a `golden age' of innocence:
This innocence means they are in need of protection and must be
`quarantined' from the adult world.
Cross Cultural Differences
Benedict argues children in simpler nonindustrial societies are treated
differently in 3 ways:
1/: They take responsibility from an early age
2/: Less value is placed on showing obedience to an authority figure
3/: Children's sexual behaviour is viewed differently
Historical Differences

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Aries: `As soon as a child could live without its nanny or his cradle rocker he
belonged to the adult society'.
·Childhood did not exist in history
High Infant Mortality resulted in parents not getting too close to children. They
referred to them as `it' while it was a baby
AO2 There was childhood in the middle ages however it was different to our
notion today.
Reasons for the Changes
1/: Compulsory schooling for children
Raising the school leaving age has increased levels of dependency.…read more

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The Family
Children are no longer `seen and not heard'.…read more

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Only safeguarding interests
· Children remain under adult control as they are powerless
Inequalities Between Children
Feminist View:
Boys are more likely to cross the road and cycle wherever they want
Girls do more domestic labour in lone parent households they do 5 times more
than boys
This could be due to socialisation.
Marxist View:
Poor mothers are likely to have low birth weight babies.…read more


Aiste - Team GR

Very useful :) 

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