Childhood

Learning table 1

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  • Created by: lucyball
  • Created on: 08-04-14 21:20

Western notion of childhood

Childhood is seen as a separate golden age of happiness and innocence.

Children are seen as vunerable and need protecting from the dangers of the adut world - laws/dress/products designed especially for them (toys)

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Childhood as a social construction

Childhood is socially constructed- created and defined by society. Thus childhhod changes with relevance to time, place and culture. 

Cross cultural differences

  • Children take responibility from a young age- in Bolivia children work from 5.
  • Less value placed on child obedience- Tikopia adults do not expect children to be obedient 
  • Childrens sexual behaviour varies- western pacific adults take amused interest and tolearnce towards childrens sexual experiences.

Historical differences (Aries) 10th to 13th century childhood did not exist 

  • same laws applied to children and adults- e.g children could recieve same puishemnts as adults
  • dress- children woud dress like adults 
  • No specific toys and games existed for children
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changes in the position of children (industrialisa

(during 19th and 20th centuries)

Legal changes 

  • Child labour laws- restricting children from paid work making them economically sependent on parents
  • Compulsory schooling and the raising of school leaving age- extended period of economic dependency on parents 
  • Child protecion legislation- e.g. Un 1989 rights ofthe child. Rights in healthcare, education, protection from abuse etc. 
  • Minimum age laws- e.g. sex and smoking laws to protect children from adult life

Other reasons

  • Lower child and infant mortality rates-parents more willing to make emotional/financial investments in children
  • Impact of mass media- childre hace access to same information as adults through TV/internet (supports argument that childhood is disappering) 
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Childhood has improved

March of Progress view- childhood has improved 

  • Better educated- £64 billion spent on education in the UK each year
  • Protected from abuse- child abuse laws
  • More child centered- no longer 'seen and not heard' are often focuspoint of families and are consukted on decisions
  • Media and leisure activities cateer for the needs of children

AO2- :( idealised image of childhood- ignores the dark side of childhood (abuse/bullying/divorce etc) 

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childhood has not improved

conflict view- childhood has not improved for all children (variability)

Inequaities between children

  • Gender differences- feminists argue that girls do more domestic labour than boys
  • Ethnic differences- Asian parents are more likely to be overl strict and restricting
  • Class differences- Marxists argue that working class children are more likley to suffer infant mortality rates, poor living conditions and low levels of educational success. 
  • International differences- Childhood and lfe chances vary across the world e.g. child sodiers and poverty
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childhood has not improved

Inequaities between children and adults

Adults do not always use their power to protect children istead they dominate- age patriarchy (Liberationists such as Firestone)

  • Space and movement- restrictions on places chldren can play/ cctv in schools- in Sudan children are free to 'roam'
  • Time- adults contol daily routines and speed chidren grow up- Samoa children never too young to do adult tasks 
  • Bodies- adults contol how children sit/dress/hairstyles/piercings - western pacific children have gerater secual freedom
  • Neglect and abuse- physical/sexual/emotional abuse

AO2- :( Adult intervention and control is necessary to safeguard children who cannot make their own decisions

 

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Disappearance of childhood

Postman- period of childhood is shortening as children are growing up too quickly and losing their innocence.

  • Disappearcne of childrens unsupervised games 
  • Growing similarity of children and adults clothing
  • Children committing adult crimes e.g. gun and knife crime
  • Underage sex, drinking and smoking

Palmer- childrens physical, emotional and intellectual development is being damaged by junkfood, computer games, over testing in schools etc. 

The UK is low in surveys of childrens well being- concerns exist about obesit,self-harm, drug and alcohol abuse etc.

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Reasons for disappearance of childhood

Postman- suggets that technology and the media have eroded the boundary between childhood and adulthood- TV and the internet have allowed children to gain adult knowledge too quickly. So they are exposed to the real world of sex, disaster,death and suffering. 

AO2- :( Not all children are equally affected by the above changes- it is mainy children from lower social classes.

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Childhood is not disappering

Opie- children still have thier own independent separate culture.Games, rhymes and songs children grow up with often unsupervised by adults.

Liberationists- oppresive western paterns of childhood are spreadinf throughout the world. International agencies campaign for a separate where children should be seen as innocent,vunerabe, in need of protection and have no economic role (campaigns against child labour and rasing awareness of 'street children')

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