Childhood

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  • Created by: J.E.C.
  • Created on: 13-05-14 22:27

Pre industrial childhood - Aries

Childhood is a social constuction because > Varies between cultures > Varies across time

Pre - industrial childhood ARIES

> 'Little Adults' - took part in same work & play activities as adults

> Economic asset

> Difficult to invest emotionally in children due to high infant mortality rates

> Unit of production

> Those that did not help parents left to become servants or apprentices.

Today's childhood is a recent social invention

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Childhood and industrialisation

> Change in attitudes in MC families = increased marital / parental love

> Infant mortality rates began to fall

> Wanted children off the streets and out of mines & factories

> Seen as opposite to adults - need protection & right no to work

> Have right to happiness

> Some children still treated badly

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Children in the 20th century

> Child-centred society emerges

> Children became more expensive - increased standard of living / decline in IMR

> Increased availability of contraception

> Adults invested more in love, socialisation & protection

> Childhood and adolescence seen as separate from adulthood

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Childhood in high-income societies

> Treated separately with specialist wards & doctors

> Have to be in education by law

> Not expected to work

> Sheltered from conflict

> Boost economy as a unit of consumption

> Higher life expectancy / lower IM rates

> Free vaccinations / doctors appointments

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Childhood in low-income societies

> Same medical care given in same setting

> May not receive education due to isolation / lack of money

> May have to work to support family

> Involved in conflict as 'mini-soldiers'

> Unit of production

> Low life expectancy & high IM rates

> Family is often responsible for providing healthcare

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Studies

Aries

Children not seen as any different from adults so took part in same activities, dressed the same. Expected to enter adult life once they could move around independently. Life expectancy about 30 in 1700s and 40 by 1860.

Neil Postman

Children constantly exposed to the adult world due to mass/interactive media. Difficult to distinguish between adult world and child world. Difficult to define appropriate behaviour. Disappearance of childhood. Social Blurring.

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Postmodernist view

Not all children in western societies experience a pleasant childhood - Two children die of neglect in Britain every week.

James, Jenks and Prout

 > Childhood is socially consructed - specific to different cultures / location / historical period

 > Can be viewed ethnographically - looking at the world from the point of view of the child.

 > Children can be viewed as a minortiy group - relatively powerless - participation in society limited by adults in the name of protection.

 > Only one stage of age stratification - some common features such as friendship groups of same age, position in family life and developmental stages in education.

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