Flashcards in Childhood Deck (16)
How do Sociologists view childhood?
As a social construct and not natural, what is viewed as childhood varies between societies, classes and historically
What are some characteristics of childhood in the west?
Childhood is seen as special and innocent
Children are seen as fundamentally different to adults, as immature and unable to look after themselves
They need a lengthy and protected period of time of nurturing and socialisation
According to Cunningham (2007) children are treat the opposite of adults and are given the right to happiness
They do not take responsibility for themselves and they are massively separated from the lives of adults contrasting to childhood in traditional society
What did Aries (1960) argue?
In medieval Europe the idea of childhood did not exist, children were not seen as different to adults, work began at an early age and children were treat as mini-adults with the same responsibilities and rights as adults
What are some of the reasons Aries gives for why childhood was not a thing in medieval Europe?
High infant mortality rates encouraged neglect and indifference towards children
There was of course no welfare state so kids had to work and got no luxuries
What does Aries argue changed the idea of childhood to the modern notion we know today?
Began to emergence in 13th century, schools began to specialise education of the young, church started treating kids as fragile creatures of god and there was a distinction in children's clothing which adults felt was cute
Why has the position of children changed?
Lower infant mortality rates, laws banning childhood labour (from 1840s onward kids began to be economic liabilities rather than assets), compulsory education since 1880, child protection and welfare laws, laws about social behaviour such as age of consent. Compare with medieval times!
However, what was the primary underlying cause of childhood development?
Industrialisation, Modern industry needed an educated workforce, so compulsory education was needed, this resulted in higher standards of living due to knowledge of disease etc, and hence lead to lower infant mortality rates
What does Postman (1994) argue?
He argues that childhood is once again disappearing as kids are being treat and acting more like adults with similar rights such as clothing leisure and crime, however critics argue that postman focuses on on issue to much and ignores other issues
What does postman argue is ultimately the cause of this?
Result of television culture replacing print culture, In print culture children lacked the relevant literacy skills to learn about adult issues such as sex etc. Whereas with television culture kids learn and have role models that weaken the distinction between adults and kids such as profanity etc. However critics argue that childhood is changing not into adulthood but developing after postmodernism and also argue that western childhood is spreading and not disappearing just infusing with other cultures along the way
What does childhood look like in postmodernity?
Due to increasing instability in adult relationships children relationships become adults last refuge of security and love meaning childhood had became more unsafe resulting in even greater regulation of children's lives
Has childhood improved? Mop view
MOP Sociologists Such as Aries argue that childhood has been steadily improving and family is now more child centred than ever as children are better cared for in their needs, the mortality rate is at record lows, higher living standards and smaller family sizes have meant that children are now better affordable for their kids needs
Children are protected from harm from legislation against child abuse and labour
What does sue Palmer argue?
Sue palmer in 'Toxic childhood' argues that rapid technological and cultural changes are damaging children's development, junk food, computer games, intensive marketing towards kids, testing in education, long hours worked by parents deprive kids of a genuine childhood
What evidence is there for toxic childhood?
Uk children are near the top of almost all league table for obesity, self harm, drug and alcoho, abuse, violence and teenage pregnancies, although recently critics argue that the uk is seeing huge falls in teen pregnancies and abuse, UNICEF (2007) ranked the uk 21st out of 25 for child well being
What is the conflict view of childhood improvement?
Marxists and Feminists argue that the march of progress View is too generalised and idealised it ignores inequalities such as third world children having different life chances than those in the west, gender differences, as girls are expected to do more housework, ethnic differences as Asian parents are shown to be more disciplined towards their kids and class inequalities as poorer kids are more likely to die in infancy or do badly in school
What do conflict theorists argue about inequalities between children and adults?
child liberationists such as Firestone (1979) argue that expensive care and protection are new forms of child oppression, subjecting them to even more adult control, however critics such as mops argue that this ignores adult control that benefits children