Childhood as a social construct:
Sociologists believe childhood is defined and created by society. They believe Childhood varies:
-Within societies e.g. between different classes
Cross-cultural differences in childhood
Benedict (1934)- argues that children in non-industrial societies are treated differently from children in the western world:
-They have more responsiblity at home and work
- Less value is placed on obideince to adult authority
-Childrens sexual behaviour is viewed differently
The behaviour expected of children and adults is less clearly seperated.
Historical differences in childhood
Position of children differs over time
Aries (1960)-idea of childhood doesn't exist:
-Children were not seen as having a different 'nature' from adults. -Work began from an early age.
-Children were 'mini-adults' with the same rights duties and skills as adults.
Shorter (1975)-Parental attitudes towards children were very different: high child death rates encouraged indifferenceand neglect towards infants.
The modern notion of childhood-13th century
-Schools began to specialise only in education of the young.
-The church increasingly saw children as being fragile 'creatures of God' needing discipline and protection of worldly evils.
-There was a growing distinction between children's and adults clothing-seperating children from adults.