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The modern western notion of childhood

It is generally accepted in our society today that childhood is a special time in your
life. You are considered to be very different from adults, as during childhood you are
physically and psychologically immature and not yet able to run your own lives.…

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vulnerable and in need of protection from the dangers of the adult world. For that reason
they must be quarantined and separated from it.

In western culture today children are defined as vulnerable and unable to fend for
themselves. However other cultures do not necessarily see such a great difference…

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Historical differences in childhood
Many sociologist and historians have claimed that childhood as we understand it today is a
relatively recent invention.

Aries (1960) argues that the idea of childhood did not exist in the Middle Ages and that
childhood did not begin to appear until the fifteenth century. In…

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Pollock (1983) argues that it is more correct to say that in the Middle Ages; society
just had a different notion of childhood from todays.

Reasons for changes in the position of children
There are many reasons for the changes in the position of children. These include the
following changes…

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Childhood is socially constructed and varies between times places and cultures. There are
important differences between childhood in western societies today, as compared with both
present-day third world countries and Europeans societies in the past.
The march of the progress view
The march of the progress view argues that in…

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Inequalities among children

There are inequalities among children as not all children share the same status or experience.
For example children with different nationalities are likely to experience different childhoods
and life chances.

Gender differences also cause inequalities among children Hillman (1993) found that boys are
more likely to be…

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Controls over children's space
Children's movements around industrial societies are highly regulated. For example...

Children are told they can play in some places and forbidden to play in others.
Children are constantly under surveillance when in public places, especially at times
they should be at school.
There are lots of…

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All this this contrast with the economic role of children, in third world societies and in
European societies in societies in the past. For example: Katz found that Sudanese children
were already engaged in productive

Age patriarchy
Age Patriarchy is used to describe the inequalities between adults and children, Gittins…

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Children are gaining more rights in society, this could be a sign that children are becoming
more powerful and the barrier between children and adults is breaking down. Therefore it can
be argued by some sociologist that childhood in the western society is disappearing.

The disappearance of childhood
Postman (1994)…

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A result of this has meant that the boundary between adult and child is broken down, which
has now lead to adult authority diminished and the ignorance and innocence of childhood
being replaced by knowledge and cynicism.

This study of Postman's is very valuable, as it shows how differences in…




thank you so much :)

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