IS CHILDHOOD A SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION?
Social construction is something that society has created. Child hood is different in different times and places.
JANE PILCHER: MODERN NOTION OF CHILDHOOD
This means that children are physchologically/mentally inferior to adults.
- Children have seperate status from adults through...
- laws, dress code and toys.
- They are in a golden age, happy and innocent.
STEPHEN WAGG: SOCIETY IS SOCIAL CONSTRUCTED, NOT UNIVERSAL.
- Different cultures see childhood differently.
- CROSS-CULTURAL DIFFERENCES.
- Childhood is different in different times and places.
IS CHILDHOOD A SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION? continued
RUTH BENEDICT: NON-INDUSTRIAL SOCIETY DIFFERENCES:
- BOLIVIA - Responsible at an early age.
- WEST PACIFIC - Obedience to adult authority isn't important.
- SOUTH WEST PACIFIC - Child sex behaviour is seen differently.
PHILLIPE ARIES: HISTORICAL DIFFERENCES:
- Childhood differed from time to time.
- No childhood in middle ages, same as adults.
- Shot life expectancy meant they worked at an early age.
- After 13th C institutions like school were created by society.
POSITION OF CHILDREN HAS CHANGED:
- Laws: Against child labour, paid work means they are not economic assets.
- Compulsary school 1880: increased dependency age.
- Child protection/welfare legislation 1890: Prevented cruelty.
- UN Convention act: entitled to education
- Small families and low death rates: qualtiy care for child.
MARCH OF PROGRESS CHILDHOOD
ARIES AND SHORTER:
- Children are more valued and cared for like laws against harm.
- Infant mortality rate has fell from 154/1000 in 1900, to 4/1000 now.
- Smaller families mean more child centredness, more media, leisure activities for them.
- UK 16th/29th for children's well being.
- UK is above average on child obesity, drugs, alcohol, sex, etc.
NEGLECT AND ABUSE: CHILDLINE/CHILD PROTECTION:
- 2013, 43,000 in child protection.
- Childline, 23,000 calls by children
- 1971, 86% walked alone from primary school now it's 25% because of stranger danger.
INEQUALITIES IN CHILDREN
- 90% of Low birth weight is in MEDCs.
- HILLMAN: Boys are more trusted than girls, e.g. crossing road.
- BONKE: Girls 5x more likely to do Housework.
FIRESTONE AND HOLT: INEQUALITIES IN ADULTS:
- Care and protection is oppression.
- Banning child labour makes them more dependent.
- Control their body
- Parent's control their routines of eating, clothing, how to spend etc.
GITTENS: PATRIARCHY HARMING CHILDREN:
- They're economically dependent and authority is shown by violence.
HOCKEY AND JAMES: ACTING DOWN/UP:
- May act up, swear, take alcohol.
- May act down, resist adult control.
FUTURE OF CHILDHOOD?
Child's rights are increasing, in future there may not be a childhood or adulthood.
NIEL POSTMAN: CHILDHOOD DISAPPEARING:
- Getting same rights as adults.
- Print and TV culture.
- Print culture gave adults power, not TV cultures blurs both adult and childhood, destroys hierarchy.
- TV and Print culture was a social construction.
OPIE: NO, IT'S NOT DISAPPEARING.
- Children games, rhymes, songs, toys still exist.
SUE PALMER: TOXIC CHILDHOOD:
- UK is toxic for childhood
- Radical techonology changes of past 25 years have damaged children emotionally/mentally.
- Involves junk food, video games, tests in education and entertainment.