Childhood: Social Construction of Childhood



- Childhood is not part of a biological range from birth to the age of 18.

- The concept of childhood changes based upon different social locations:

  • Cultural backgrounds.
  • Time.
  • Social class.
  • Gender.
  • Ethnicity

Cultural Differences in Childhood

- International Labour Organisation has estimated that there were 168 million child workers globally in 2013, other estimates have suggested in excess of 200 million.

- Wyness (2012): estimated that around 300,000 child soldiers active in conflicts in Central and Eastern Africa.

- UNICEF (2014): one in ten girls experience sexual violence and 95,000 children are murdered each year.

- Differences in expectations of children's behaviour globally, with little differentiation between adults and children in Samoa according to Benedict (1955).

Historical Differences in Childhood

- Aries (1973): examined the development of modern childhood by examining the role of children throughout history.

- Little differentiation between children and adults until the industrial era; the rise of compulsory schooling and control over labour laws.

- Decrease in infant mortality as society evolved; children were often not expected to live into adulthood before this time.

- Shift towards a more child-centred society in the late 20th century as a number of children in family decreased and…


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