Family- couples


Chilhood- childhood as a social construct- card 1

What does Pilcher say is the most important feature of the modern idea of childhood?

Separatness- childhood is seen as a clear and distinct life stage, and children in out society occupy a seperate status to adults.

How is this idea of separatness empahsised in society?

  • Through laws regulating what children are allowed and forbidden to do.
  • Through differences in dress.
  • Through products and services which are specially for children- such as toys, food, books, entertainments and play areas.

What is the golden age?

The idea that childhood is an age of happiness and innocence.

What does the innocence mean for children?

Children are seen as vulnerable and in need of protection from the dangers of the world so they must be seperated from it. 

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Childhood- childhood as a social construct- card 2

What does children's vulnerabilty result in?

Children's lives are largely lived in the sphere of the family and education, where adults provide for them and protect them from the outside world. Unlike adults, children lead lives of leisure and play and are largely exlcuded from paid work.

How can the view of childhood as a seperate age be criticised by Wagg (1992)?

Wagg states that childhood is socially constructed. It is what members of particular societies, at particular times and in particular places say it is. There is not a siinglee universal childhood which is experienced by all. Therefore, childhood is not naturral and sould be distinguished by bioloigcal immaturity.

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Childhood- childhood as a social construct- card 3

What are the three ways Benedict argues children from non-industiral socities are different from their Western counter-parts?

  • They take repsonsiblity from an early age. e.g Punchs study of chilhood in Bolivia found that one children turned 5 years old, they were expected to take work responsibilities in the home and in the community.
  • Less value is placed on children showing obedience to adult authority.
  • Childrens sexual behavitour is often viewed differently.

How are Western notions of childhood being globalised?

Internal humanitarian and welfare agencies have exported and imposed on the rest of the world, the western norms of what childhood should be- a seperate stage, based in the nuclear family and at school, in which children are innocent, dependent, vulnerable and have no economic role. For example, protests against child labouur in developiing countries reflect the western views of how childhood should be. 

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Childhood- childhood as a social construct- card 4

What does Aries argue about childhood in the middle ages?

He argues that the idea of childhood did not exist, children were not seen as having a different nature or needs from adults, at least not once they had passed the stage of physical dependency during infancy. 

How was childhood in the middle ages different to the modern idea of childhood as a seperate age?

Chilhood as a seperate age stage was short. Soon after being weaned the child entered wider society on much of the same terms as adults, beginning work at an early age, often in the household of another family. Children were mini-adults with the same rights, duties and skills as adults.

What evidence is there of this view that childhood did not exist?

Aries used works of art from the period. In these children appear without any chracteristics of childhoood, they are simply depicted on a smaller scale. These paintings show children and adults as dressed the same and working and plating together. 

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Childhood- childhood as a social construct- card 5

How were parental attitudes towards children different in the middle ages to now?

Shorter argues that the high death rates encouraged indifference and neglect, particulary towards infants. It was not uncommon for paretns to giive their newborn baby the same name as their dead siibling, and they often forgot how many chiildren they had or reffered to their baby as it.

According to Aries what elements of the modern notion of childhood began to emerge from the 13th century onwards?

  • Schools came to specialse purely in the education of the young, this reflect the influence of the church who saw children as fragile.
  • There was a growing distinction between children's and adult's clothing, by the 17th century an upper class boy would be dressed in an outifi reseved for his age.
  • By the 18th century handbooks on child rearing were widely available- which was a sign of growing child centeredness.

Accorsing to Aries where did these developments culminate?

In the modern cult of childhood, he argues we have moved to a world that is child obssessed.

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Childhood- childhood as a social construct- card 6

How has Aries been critcised for arguing that childhood was non-existent in the past?

Pollock argues that it is moore correct to say that in the miiddke ages, society simpyly had a diifferent notion of childhood from today's.

What are the reasons for the changing positions of children?

  • Laws restricting child labour and exclusing children from paid work.
  • The introduction of compulsory schooling in 1980.
  • Child protection and welfare legislation.
  • The growth of the idea of childrens rights.
  • Declining family sizes and lower infant mortality rates.
  • Childrens development became the subject of medial knowledge.
  • Laws and policies applying specifically to children.

What does the process of industrialisation result in?

The shift from agriculture to factory production as the basis of the economy, underlies many of the reasons that childrens positions are changing. As well as higher standards of living & welfare provision.

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Childhood- the future of childhood- card 1

What does Postman argue abouut childhood?

He argues childhoood is disappearing at a dazzling speed.

According to postman why is childhood disappearing?

He points to the trend towards giving childtrn the same rights as adults, the disapperance of childrens traditional unsupervised games, the growing similarities of childrens and adults clothing, and in some cases children  cmmiting adult crimes like murder. 

What does the emergence and disapperance of childhood emerge from?

Lies in the rise and fall of print culture and its replacement by TV culture. 

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Childhood- the future of childhood- card 2

When does Postman argue chilhood emerged as a seperate status?

Along with mass literacy, from the 19th century on.

What does mass literacy create?

Written word creates an information hierachy: a sharp divission between adults who can read and children who cannot. 

What does the information hierachy give adults the power to do?

To keep knowledge about sex, money, violence, illness, death and other adult matters a secret from children, these things became mysteries to children and children became associated with innocence an ignorance.

What destroys the information hierahcy?

TV blurs the distinction between chilhood and adulthod, as TV does not require special skills to access it, which makes information availavle to adults and children alike. The ignorance and innocence of childhood is replaced by knowledge and cynicism.

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Childhood- the future of childhood- card 3

How can Postman be critcised?

  • Opie argues that childhood is not disappearing. Based on a lifetime of research, on childrens unsupervised games, rhymes and songs, she argues that there is strong evidence of the continued existence of a seperate children's culture over many years.
  • He can also be criticsed for overeemphasisng a single cause- TV- at the expense of other factorss that have influenced the development of childhood.

What does Jenks believe about childhood?

He believes childhood is changing, as society moves from modernity to postmodernity. 

How is chilhood different in postmodern society?

Adult relationships are much more unstable- e.g divorce is more common. Therefore, relationships with their children become adults last refuge from the constant uncertainty and upheavel of life. Therefore, adults become evenmore preoccupied with protecting the from percieved dangers such as child abuse.

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Childhood- the future of childhood- card 4

How can Jenks be criticised?

  • The evidence to back Jenks comes from small unrepresentitive studies.
  • Jenks is gulity of over-genralising. Despite the diversity of childhood patterns found today he makes sweeping statments that imply that all children are in the same position. 
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Childhood- has the position of children improved?-

What does the march or progress view argue about the patterns of children in society?

Argues that over the past few centuries, the position of children in Western socieities has been steadily improving and today it is better than it has ever been.

How to writers such as Aries and Shorter hold a march of progress view?

They argue that today's children are more valued, better cared for, protected and educated, enjoy better health and have more rights than those in previous generations. 

How has the family become more child-centered?

Smaller family sizes, means parents can afford to provide for their children properly. Children arre now the focal point of the family, and parents invest a great deal of in their children emotionally and financially, and often have high aspirations from them to have  a better life and greater opportunities than they did themselves. 

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Childhood- has the position of children improved?-

What is the toxic chilldhood that Palmer argues some children in the UK are now experiencing?

Rapid technological and culdutral changes have damaged childdrens physical, emotional and intellectual development. These changes range from junk food, computer games, and intensiive marketng to children, to the long hours worked by parents and the emphasis on testing in the education system. 

What is the conflict view of the changes in childhood?

Conflict sociologists such as Marxists and feminists, argue that society is based on conflict between different social groups, such as classes and genders. In this conflict some groups have more power, status or wealth than oothers. Conflict sociologists arguue that the march of progress viiew of childhood is based on a false idealised image which ignores important inequalities. 

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Childhood- has the position of children improved?-

How do conflict sociolgists criticise the march or porgress view on the changing patterns of chilhood?

  • There are inequalties amonf children in terms of opportunities and the risks which they face: many today emain unprotected and badly care for.
  • The inequalities between children and adults are greater than ever: children today experience, greater control, opression and dependency, not greater care and protection.

What inequalities are there between children- in naitionality, gender and ethnicity?

  • Children of different nationalities are likely to experiience different childhoods and life chances. 90% of the world's low-birth weight babies are born in developing countires.
  • There are gender differences between children. For example, boys are more likely to be allowed to cross and cycle accross roads, use buses and go out after dark unaccompinied. Girls do more domestic labour, and 5X more housework than boys.
  • There are also ethnic differences-  Brannen found that Asian parents were more likely tha other parents to be strict towards their daughters.
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Childhood- has the position of children improved?-

What class inequalities are there between chidren?

  • Poor mothers are more likely to have low birth-weight babiies, whih is linked to delayed physical and intellectual development. 
  • Children of unskilled manual workers are over 3 times more likely to suffer hyperactivity and four times more likely to experience conduuct disorders than the children of professionals.
  • Children born into poor fmailies are also more likely to die in infancy or childhood, to suffer longstanding illness, to be of shorter height, to fall behind at school and to be placed on the chid protection register.

How do Firestone and Holt criticise the march of progress view that adults use power to benefit and protect children?

They argue that many of the things march of progress writers see as care and protection, are actually new forms of opression and control. For example, protection from paid work is not a benefit to children, but a form of inequality. It is a way of forcibly segregating children, making them more dependent, powerless and the subject to adult control.

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Childhood- has the position of children improved?-

What can adult control over children result in?

Adult control over children can take the extreme form of physical, sexual and emotional abuse. For example in 2013, 43,000 children were suubject to child protection plans because they were deemed to be at significant harm. 

How is childrens space controlled?

Childrens movements in industrial society are highly regulated, for example signs such as no school children. CHildren are told to play in some areas and forbidden to play in other areas. There is close surviellance over children in public places such as shopping centres, especially when they are meant to be at school. Simialry, fears about stranger danger has led to more children being driven to school rather than traveelling independently. 

How is childrens time controlled?

Adults control childrens daily rountines, inclduing the times they get up, eat, go to school, come home, go out, play, watch TV and sleep. Adults also control the speed at which children grow up. It is up to themto decide if a child is too old or too young to take part in activities.

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Childhood- has the position of children improved?-

How are childrens bodies controlled?

Adults exercise enormous control over their childrens bodies, including how they sit, walk and run, what they wear, their hairstyles and whether or not they are allowed to get their ears pierced. Adults also wash, feed and dress children, they also pat their heads, hold their hands, pick them up, kiss and cuddle chidlren, as well as disipline children through smacking. Adults also restrict the ways in which children touch their own bodies, for example a child may be told not to pick their nose. 

How are childrens access to resources controlled?

Inn industrial society childdren only have limited opportunities to make money, so remain economically dependent on adults:

  • Labour laws and compulsory schooling exclude them from all but the mot marginal, low-paid, part-time employment.
  • Although the state pays child benefit this goes to the parent not the child.
  • Pocket money given by parents depends on good behaviours, and it may have restrictions of what it can be spent on.
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Childhood- has the position of children improved?-

What is the defintion of the term age patriarchy?

It is used to describe the inequalties between adults and children. There is an age patriarchy oof adut doination and child dependency. 

How does this form of power by adults assert itself in todays society?

In the form of violence against children and women. E.g. Humphhreys and Thiara funf that  1/4 of 200 women left their abusing partner out of fear for their childrens lives. 

What evidence can be used to show children may experience chilhood as oppressive?

The stratergies childrren use to resist the sttatis of a child and the restrictions which go with it. E.g. Hockey and James describe one stratergy as acting up- acting like adults and doing things children are not supposed to do, like drinkking alcohol, smoking and under-age sexual activity.

How can this view of chilhood be criticised?

Some adult control over children is justified on the grounds that children are unable to make rational decisions, and are therefore unable to safegaurd their own interests.

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Childhood- has the position of children improved?-

What is the risk of these views of childhood?

There is a risk of the adultist viewpoint- that is it may see childdrren as socialisation projects for adults to mould, shape and devlop, which is of no interest to themselves, but only for what they will become in the future. 

What is the new sociology of childhood?

Does not see children as adults in the making. Instead it sees children as active agents who play a major part in creating their own childhoods.

How does the new sociology of childhood look for the childs point of view?

It aims t includee the views and expereinces of children themsleves living through childhood. For example, Mason and Tipper show hhow children actively create their own defintions of who is the family- which may include people who are not real auns or grandfathers ect. And Smart et al's study of divorce doung children were actively involved in makking the situation better for everyone. 

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