Sociology: Childhood (1.2)

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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.

RUTH BENEDICT

 

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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.
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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.
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STATS

UNICEF:

  • UK 16th/29th for children's well being.

UK Youth:

  • 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

SPACE:

  • 1971, 86% walked alone from primary school now it's 25% because of stranger danger.
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CHILD LIBERATIONISTS:

CHILD LIBERATIONISTS:

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.
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CHILD LIBERATIONISTS:

HOCKEY AND JAMES: ACTING DOWN/UP:

  • May act up, swear, take alcohol.
  • May act down, resist adult control.
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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.
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