Childhood Flashcards Preview

AS Sociology > Childhood > Flashcards

Flashcards in Childhood Deck (30)
Loading flashcards...

Identify three features of childhood in our society.

- Separateness (Pilcher): Childhood is seen as a clear and distinct life stage, and children in society occupy a separate status from adults.

- Idea of childhood as a 'golden age' of happiness and innocence. However, this innocence means that children are seen as vulnerable and in need of protection from the dangers of the adult world.

- There's a belief that children lack skills, knowledge, and experience meaning that they need a lengthy, protected period of nurturing and socialisation before they are ready for adult society and its responsibilities.


Give three examples of how children are treated differently in different societies.

- Punch's study in Bolivia: they take responsibility at a young age. At 5 y/o children are expected to take work responsibilities in the home or community (taken on w/o hesitation or questions)

- Firth: Less value is placed on children showing obedience to adult authority. Among the Tikopia of the western Pacific, doing as you are told by a grown-up is regarded as a concession to be granted by the child, not a right to be expected by the adult.

- Malinowski: Children's sexual behaviour is often viewed differently. Among the Trobriand Islanders of the south-west Pacific, adults took an attitude of 'tolerance and amused interest' towards children's sexual explorations and activities.


Explain what is meant by 'the globalisation of western childhood'.

International humanitarians and welfare agencies have exported and imposed on the rest of the world, western norms of what childhood should be.

For example, campaigns against child labour reflect western views about how childhood 'ought' to be - whereas, in fact, such activity by children may be the norm for the culture and an important preparation for adult life.


Give two ways in which children were seen to be the same as adults in the Middle Ages.

- Children weren't seen as having a different 'nature' or needs from adults.

- Children were essentially 'mini-adults'.

For example, the law made no distinction between adults and children, and children often faced the same severe punishments as those given out to adults.


How does the painting illustrate Aries' view of childhood in the Middle Ages?

Children appear without 'any of the characteristics of childhood: they have simply been depicted on a smaller scale'.


How were parental attitudes to children different in the Middle Ages?

Shorter: high death rates encouraged indifference + neglect, especially towards infants.

For example, it wasn't uncommon for parents to give a newborn baby the name of a recently dead sibling, to refer to the baby as 'it' or to forget how many children they had had.


Give three reasons for the emergence of the modern notion of childhood.

- Schools came to specialise purely in the education of the young. Influence of church. Children: 'fragile creatures of God'.

- Growing distinction between children's and adults' clothing. 17th century u/c boy would be dressed in an outfit 'reserved for his own age group, which set him apart from adults'.

- By the 18th century, handbooks on childrearing were widely available.


State one criticism of Aries' work.

Some sociologists had criticised Aries for arguing that childhood didn't exist in the past.

Pollock argues that it's more correct to say that in the Middle Ages, society simply had a different notion of childhood from todays.


State three ways in which Postman argues that childhood is disappearing.

- The disappearance of children's traditional unsupervised games.

- The growing similarity of children's and adults clothing.

- Cases of children committing 'adult' crimes such as murder.


According to Postman, what is the main reason for the disappearance of childhood?

The rise and fall of print culture and its replacement by television culture.


Outline how in Postman's view the information hierarchy has been destroyed.

TV is a source of information to children and this means adults are no longer the 'gatekeepers' to information.


Give one criticism of Postman's view that the information hierarchy has been destroyed.

Children are still children: Adults know more than them and TV isn't available to everyone. Childhood is different, no disappearing.


According to Jenks, what is the difference between childhood in modernity and post-modernity?

- Social change has created uncertainty and anxiety.

- Family becomes the only 'solid' part of identity, therefore children become more important and protected. (Childhood will become more separate, regulated and protected).


How does Jenks see parents' relationships with their children in postmodern society?

- Children become more important as a source of adults' identity and stability.

- They become adults' last refuge from the constant uncertainty and upheaval of life, therefore, they become overprotective of their children.


Give two criticisms of Jenks' work.

- Evidence comes from small, unrepresentative studies.

- Jenks is guilty of overgeneralising: he implies that all children are in the same position.


Give three ways in which children's lives have improved according to the march of progress view.

- Aries and Shorter argue that todays children are more valued, better cared for, protected, and educated.

- For example, protected by laws against child abuse and child labour.

- Better healthcare and standards of living means that babies have a higher chance of surviving.


According to Palmer, what are the causes of 'toxic childhood'?

She argues that rapid technological and cultural changes in the past 25 years have damaged children's physical, emotional and intellectual development.


Give examples of childhood health problems that are increasing.

UK youth have above average rates in international league tables for obesity, self-harm, drug and alcohol abuse, teen pregnancies etc.


Give the two criticisms that the conflict view makes of the march of progress view.

- There are inequalities among children in terms of the opportunities and risks they face: many today remain unprotected and badly cared for.

- The inequalities between children and adults are greater than ever: children today experience greater control, oppression and dependency, not greater care and protection.


Give examples of the inequalities among children in relation to gender. (Conflict view against mop).

According to Hillman, boys are more likely to be allowed to cross or cycle on roads, use buses, and go out after dark unaccompanied.


Give examples of inequalities among children in relation to ethnicity.

Brannen's study of 15-16 year-olds found that Asian parents were more likely than other parents to be strict towards their daughters.


Give examples of inequalities among children in relation to social class.

Poor mothers are more likely to have low birth weight babies, which in turn is linked to delayed physical and intellectual development.


Give an example of each of the following ways in which adults control children:
- Neglect and abuse
- Controls over children's space.

Neglect and abuse:
- In 2013, 43,000 children were subject to child protection plans because they were deemed at risk of harm (mostly because of their own parents).

Controls over children's space:
- Fears of road safety and 'stranger danger' prevent children travelling independently.
- For example, in 1971, 86% of primary school children were allowed to travel home from school alone. By 2010, this had fallen to 25%.


Give an example of each of the following ways in which adults control children:
- Controls over children's time
- Controls over children's bodies.

Controls over children's time:
- Adults define whether a child is too old or too young for this or that activity, responsibility or behaviour.
- Contrasts Holmes' finding among the Samoans.

Controls over children's bodies:
- Adults restrict the ways in which children may touch their own bodies.
- For example, a child may be told not to pick their nose, suck their thumb or play with their genitals.
- Contrasts with the sexual freedoms of children in cultures such as the Trobriand Islands.


Give an example of the following way in which adults control children:
- Controls over children's access to resources.

Controls over children's access to resources:
- Labour laws and compulsory schooling exclude them from all but the most marginal, low-paid, part-time employment
- Contrast: Katz found that Sudanese children were already engaged in productive work from the age of three or four.


Define age patriarchy.

Age patriarchy is used to describe the inequalities between adults and children.


How might children resist the status of 'child'?

'Acting up' - Acting like adults by doing things that children aren't supposed to such as swearing, smoking, drinking alcohol etc.
- Similarly, children may exaggerate their age.

'Acting down' - Behaving in ways expected of younger children - is also a popular strategy for resisting adult control.

Hockey and James conclude that modern childhood is a status from which most childen want to escape.


Give two criticisms of the child liberationist view.

- Some adult control over children's lives is justified on the grounds that children can't make rational decisions.

- Although children remain under adult supervision, they aren't powerless as the child liberationists claim.
- For example, the 1989 Children Act and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child establish the principle that children have legal rights to be protected and consulted.


What is meant by the idea that children are mere 'socialisation projects'?

Children are projects for adults to mould, shape and develop, of no interests in themselves but only for what they will become in the future.


How are children seen by the 'new sociology of childhood'?

This approach doesn't see children as simply 'adults in the making'. Instead, it sees them as active agents who play a major part in creating their own childhoods.