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Childhood The sociology of childhood (based on a resource found at )

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Presentation on theme: "Childhood The sociology of childhood (based on a resource found at )"— Presentation transcript:

1 Childhood The sociology of childhood http://www.educationforum.co.uk (based on a resource found at http://www.esociology.co.uk/ ) http://www.esociology.co.uk/

2 Childhood is a social construction. It is created by society rather than simply a biological stage. Different societies and different historical periods have different ideas about what is a child and what is expected of a child Childhood

3 Pre Industrial Society Aries 1962 ‘Childhood’ is a recent invention In pre industrial society children were little adults They were an economic asset – they were expected to help the family unit of production Childhood

4 Childhood In 20 th Century The 20th century became ‘child centred’ Health and diet improved and the infant mortality rate declined. Childhood

5 The 20 th century saw the increasing need to protect children via a number of pieces of legislation. 1945 Butler Education Act – schooling for all 5-15 (Raised to 16 in 1972) The Children Act 1989 – giving more rights to children Childhood & The State

6 1990 Child Care Act 1991 Child Support Act These deal with the care, upbringing and protection of children Social Services and Social Workers have powers to take children away from dangerous home situations Childhood & The State

7 Recent changes have undermined the distinctiveness of childhood, according to some sociologists. TV and other media have penetrated our homes and teat children as fully fledged consumers of products. On the other hand the need to protect children against the ‘evils’ of the adult world are reflected in the policies shown above. Hence the messages have become confusing and the debate about the status of children in contemporary society has developed into a source of tension Childhood & The State

8 Squeezed in between childhood and adulthood is the unclear term ‘youth’ Youth

9 Pilcher 1995 Says it is best treated as a transition between child and adult. From compulsory education to employment From family of origin to family of destination (orientation to procreation) Youth

10 1950 ’ s Youth Culture first emerged in post war Uk Teenagers found jobs quickly and earned high wages Hence they had strong spending power Clothes, music etc exploited this new market Youth

11 1960 ’ s Prosperity and media combined to give new independence to youths Conflicts with the older generation were more marked Youth

12 1970 ’ s 1972 school leaving age was raised to 16 By the end of the 1970 ’ s unemployment was starting to bite Youth

13 1980 ’ s Unemployment became more widespread Spending power of youth declined More staying on longer in full time education Youth

14 1990 ’ s Transition to economic independence has become longer House price increases have led many to stay living with parents into their 20’s People are marrying later and having children later. (Average age for first time mums was 24 in the 1970’s, now it’s 28) University loans replacing grants has led to more dependence on family for financial support Youth

15 Exam Questions on childhood May 2002 Identify and briefly explain 2 reasons why the position of childhood has changed in the last 100 years (8 marks)

16 June 2001 Identify and briefly explain 2 reasons why childhood as a separate age-status is a ‘relatively modern invention’ (8 marks)

17 Jan 2002 Examine the arguments and evidence in favour of the view that childhood is socially constructed (20 marks) Lesson Home


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