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Flashcards in childhood Deck (30)
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How society separates children from adults

- children have a bed time
- have to be supervised (babysitters)
- children don't drink alcohol
- TV programmes, kids programmes
- Age restrictions on life decisions
- Adults go to school
- Age of consent


The Modern Western Notion of Childhood
Pilcher (1995)

argues that the most important feature of childhood is separateness from adults
children operate a separate status from adults


society protects children via:

- the law
- through dress/clothes/access to content
- childrens products


Wagg (1992)

argues that 'childhood is socially constructed'
different cultures define childhood differently
in western cultures, children are seen as vulnerable - in other cultures this is not necessarily the case


cross-cultural differences

children in non-western societies are treated very differently to the 'norm'
they take responsibility at an early age


Punch (2001)

found that in Bolivia, children worked at home and in the community


Firth (1970)

found that children were treated equally and were not expected to show obedience towards adults

found that childhood is different cross-culturally, this is proved by the fact that in the Tikopia community doing as you were told by grown ups wasn't expected amongst the locals


historical differences in childhood

many sociologists have argued that childhood is a relatively new 'intervention'


Aries (1960)

argues that in the Middle Ages the idea of childhood didn't exist


Pollock (1983)

argues that it is more correct to say that in the Middle Ages society simply had a different notion of childhood from todays society
because children didn't have the same rights and experiences they have today e.g schooling, child protection laws and other laws applying specifically to the safety and protection of children


Postman (1994)

- childhood is disappearing at a dazzling speed
many children now committing adult crimes e.g Derrick Johns acid attacks and Jon Venables + Robert Thompsons abduction torture and murder
- children and young people are being exposed to alcohol, cigarettes at drugs at a much younger age
- many children are on social media this can often be an unregulated and uncensored world


information hierarchy

sharp division between adults who can read and children who cannot
this is destroyed by television which blurs the distinction between childhood and adulthood



argues childhood isn't disappearing she argues that there is strong evidence of continued existence of a separate childrens culture over many years


Jenks (2005)

argues that childhood is changing (not disappearing), he argues that in a post-modern society adults relationships become less stable e.g. divorce
this means that parents relationships with their children become their primary concerns meaning they are more fearful for the childrens safety and wellbeing


Hilman (1993)

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


Bonke (1999)

found that girls do more domestic labour - especially in lone parent families where they do 5x more housework than boys


Brannen (1994)

Asian parents are more likely to be strict towards their daughters


3 class inequalities exist between children

- poor mothers are more likely to have low birth-weight babies - linked to delayed physical and intellectual development

- children of unskilled manual workers are over 3x more likely to suffer from hyperactivity and 4x more likely to experience conduct and disorders than the children of professionals

- children born into poor families are also more likely to die in infancy/childhood, to suffer long standing illness to be shorter in height, to fall behind in school and to be placed on the child protection register


Firestone (1979) and Holt (1974) against the March of Progress View

many of the things that March of Progress writers see as care and protection are in fact just new forms of oppression and control
'protection' from paid work is not a benefit to children but a form of inequality its a way of forcibly segregating children making them more dependant, powerless, subject to adult control than previously


Victoria Climbie and Baby P supporting the 'dark side' to family

'dark side' to family life - sexual and physical abuse

Victoria Climbie - neglected and abused by aunt + boyfriend she died of hypothermia and had 128 other injuries she lived in a freezing bath in her own excrement

Baby Peter was 17 months old and suffered over 50 injuries - reports depicted a chaotic and troubled home which was disorganised dirty and smelly


Cunningham (2007)

the 'home habitat' at 8 years old ( the area in which they are able to travel alone) has shrunk to 1/9th of the size it was 25 years earlier


Katz (2004)

rural Sudanese children roam freely within the village and for several km outside it

this contrasts with the UKs 'stranger danger' in 2010 25% of primary school children allowed to travel home alone


how do parents control children's bodies?

tell them how to sit, walk, run, what they wear, if they can have their ears pierced etc
childrens bodies, washed, fed, dressed picked up, cuddled, kissed and disciplined e.g smacking


3 ways children's access to resources is controlled

- labour laws and compulsory schooling exclude them from all but the most marginal, low paid, part-time employment

- although the state pays child benefits this goes to the parents not the child

- pocket money given by parents may depend on 'good behaviour' and there may be restrictions on what it can be spent on


The child centred family

- higher living standards (e.g health improvements) and smaller family sites means that parents give a lot more time and attention on their children

- it is estimated that by the time a child reaches their 21st birthday they would have cos their parents around £227,00


toxic childhood - Palmer (2007)

she points towards very quick technological and cultural changes in the past 25 years
the UK has above average rates for obesity, self harm, drugs and alcohol abuse, violence, early sexual experiences and teenage pregnancies, suicide, mental health issues and bullying


the conflict view

these theorists disagree heavily with 'March of Progress' theorists
they say that their is false and that they ignore important inequalities between classes and genders


Age Patriarchy - Gittins (1998)

child liberationists like Gittins argue that children are dominated by adults and uses the term 'age patriarchy' (adult domination) to describe this


childrens reactions to age patriarchy

sociologists argue that children find this control oppressive and act against it by 'acting up' or 'acting down'


'acting up'

'acting down'

act older than they are

act younger than they are