Sociology unit 1

CHILDHOOD KEY TERMS & STUDIES

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  • Created on: 08-05-11 21:37
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Social The idea that childhood is a concept created and defined by
construction of society ­ so there is no fixed childhood experienced by all (it will
childhood vary historically and across cultures).
March of The idea that, over the past few centuries, the position of children
progress view in western societies has been steadily improving and today is
of childhood better than it ever has been.
Child-centred A society that prioritises the well-being and preferences of
society children.
Conflict view of The idea that society is based on conflict between different social
childhood groups and there are inequalities among children as well as big
inequalities between children and adults.
Age patriarchy Term used to describe inequalities between adults and children ­
adult domination and child domination.
Child Conflict theorists who see the need to free children from adult
liberationists control.
Acting up Acting like adults by doing things that children are not supposed
to do, such as swearing, smoking, drinking alcohol, joy-riding and
underage sexual activity.
Acting down Behaving in ways expected of younger children ­ e.g. by
reverting to baby talk or insisting on being carried.
Disappearance The trend towards giving children the same rights as adults, the
of childhood disappearance of childrens traditional unsupervised games, the
growing similarity of adult and childrens clothing, and even to
cases of children committing ,,adult crimes such as murder.
Information A sharp division between adults, who can read, and children, who
hierarchy cannot. This gives adults the power to keep knowledge about sex,
money, violence, illness, death and other ,,adult matters a secret
from children.
Childhood The idea that children can and do create their own independent
culture culture separate from that of adults ­ for example with games,
rhymes and songs.
Toxic childhood The idea that rapid technological and cultural changes in the past
25 years have damaged childrens physical, emotional and
intellectual development.
Benedict The sociologist who argues that in many non-industrial cultures,
there is much less of a dividing line between the behaviour that is
expected of children and that expected of adults.
Aries The sociologist who argues that childhood is a relatively recent
,,invention ­ the idea did not exist in the middle ages.
Shorter A sociologist who supports the ,,march of progress view of
childhood.
Firestone A child liberationist, who sees ,,protection from paid work not as
a benefit to children but as a form of inequality ­ making them
more dependent and powerless.
Gittins The sociologist who introduced the term ,,age patriarchy.
Hockey and Use the terms ,,acting up and ,,acting down in their explanation
James that modern childhood is a status from which most children want
to escape.
Postman The sociologist who argues that childhood is disappearing as
television is destroying the information hierarchy.
Opie The sociologist who argues that childhood is not disappearing as
there is evidence of the continued existence of a separate
childrens culture over many years.
Palmer The sociologist who argues children in the UK today are
experiencing a ,,toxic childhood.

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CHILDHOOD IS A SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION AND VARIES BETWEEN TIMES PLACES &
GROUPS. MOST SOCIOLOGISTS SEE OUR IDEA OF CHILDHOOD AS A FAIRLY DECENT
ONE, THE RESULT OF INDUSTRIALISATION AND OTHER SOCIAL CHANGES. MODERN
SOCIETY CONSTRUCTS CHILDHOOD AS A TIME OF VUNERABILITY, INNOCENCE &
SEGREGATION FROM THE ADULT WORLD.
"MARCH OF PROGRESS" SOCIOLOGISTS BELIEVE WE LIVE IN AN INCREASINGLY
CHILD-CENTRED SOCIETY. THEY STATE THAT CHILDREN HAVE NEVER HAD IT SO
GOOD. CRITICS ARGUE THAT THIS IGNORES THE CONTIVUED EXISTENCEOF CHILD
POVERTY, ABUSE & EXPLOITATION.…read more

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