Topic 4- Social construction of childhood

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Topic 4- Social construction of childhood

Social construction: Important charcteristics, influenced by social attitudes and interpretations- The differing status and responsibilities, Treatments of children have changed through histor, Differences between children status in same society 

Childhood: Clear, separate period of life, Long period of support and socialization by adults

  • Popular views of childhood:

-Childhood in Britain privileged, Protected by laws,cheaper travel and special foods

- Identity and status of children have been created by social attitudes - social structure

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Topic 4- Social construction of childhood

  • Cross cultural differences in childhood:

-Freedom from adult responsibilities, not found in all societies, esp in developing countries

-Child labour: International labour organization- 1 in 7 children world work. Africa- 28% aged between 5-17 involved in child labour

- Child soliders: 2008 Report STUOCS- Between 2004 and 2007 Child soliders involved in active conflict in 21 countries. 

-UNICEF 2014- 1 in 10 girls experiances sexual violence- 95,000 of a child murders a year

- This shows nature of childhood is not the same in every society

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Topic 4- Social construction of childhood

  • Historical changes in childhood:

-Phillipe Aries: Showed in the medieval times, childhood did not exist as a separate status. Children were seen as "little adults"- Adult responsibilities and roles, mixed with adults

- 1850's- Child labour was practised, Poor famililes- Children were theives and prostitutes. Children were faced same legal punishments as adults 

-Aries:Linked social construction to industrialization- Restrictions in child labour, children were seen as innocent. Literate and numerate labour force; Development of compulsary education from 1880. Children were now dependent on adults

  • Differences between children in same society:

- Inequalities based on social class, ethnicity and gender

-GENDER/ ETHNICITY-Bhatti: Asian girls are more controlled by parents

-SOCIAL CLASS-Margo et el. Richer parents can afford activities, children can afford educational activities which enhance children's social development

-SOCIAL CLASS27% of children in UK were living in poverty

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