Social construction of childhood

Different theories on childhood.

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  • Created by: Laura
  • Created on: 15-12-10 12:47

Phillipe Aries (1960)

Aries argues...

  • During the middles ages, the "idea of childhood" did not exist.
  • Children weaned, however once they were past the stage of being physically dependant on their parents, they were classed as adults.
  • Children began work very young and were seen as "mini-adults".
  • Society was/is socially constructed.


  • He looked at paintings from the middle ages.
  • Said children appeared without "any of the characteristics of childhood" - simply shown on a smaller scale.

Edward Shorter (1975) - Argued that parental attitudes towards children were also very different. He said that high death rates encouraged indifference & neglect. Often children were called "it" and forgotten about.

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