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A Q A – A S S O C I O L O G Y
Childhood -
A Social Construct
Sections
 Modern western notion
 Cross-cultural differences
 Historical differences
 Why the position of children has ...
Modern western notion of childhood
 An innocent and special time of life - a ‘golden age’.
 Fundamentally different from...
Cross-cultural differences
 Benedict – children from non-industrial societies are different from western
children as:
 T...
Historical differences
 Todays idea of childhood is a quite new invention.
 Ariès – between the 10th and 13th century ch...
Why the position of children has changed
 Laws restricting child labour – children are now an economic liability.
 Intro...
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AQA AS Sociology - Childhood: A Social Construct

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Made for the purpose of revision of AQA's AS level sociology, the topic Family & Households.

A slideshow on the 4 different sub-topics within the main topics of childhood and childhood as a social construct.

Includes: modern western notion of childhood, cross-cultural differences, historical differences and why the position of children has changed.
Sociologists names and studies.

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AQA AS Sociology - Childhood: A Social Construct

  1. 1. A Q A – A S S O C I O L O G Y Childhood - A Social Construct
  2. 2. Sections  Modern western notion  Cross-cultural differences  Historical differences  Why the position of children has changed
  3. 3. Modern western notion of childhood  An innocent and special time of life - a ‘golden age’.  Fundamentally different from adulthood – physically and mentally incapable.  Period of protection, nurturing and socialising.  Pilcher – childhood is distinctly separate from adulthood, it is its own clear life stage where children occupy a different social status form adults.  This is emphasised via laws, differences in dressing, and products and services for children.  Also seen as vulnerable, and in need of protection from the dangers of the adult world.  Lived in a sphere of family and education – away from the real world.  Cuningham – children are the opposite to adults, with the right to happiness.  Wagg – there is no such thing as universal childhood, it isn't ‘natural’.
  4. 4. Cross-cultural differences  Benedict – children from non-industrial societies are different from western children as:  They have more responsibility from an early age. Punch found that once children in Bolivia reach 5, they are expected to take work responsibilities in the home and community.  Less value placed on them showing obedience to authority. Firth found that the children of the Tikopia doing what you are told by an adult is regarded as a concession to be granted by the child.  Their sexual behavior is viewed differently. Malinowski found among the Trobiand Islanders adults took an attitude of ‘tolerance and amused interest’ towards children's sexual activities.
  5. 5. Historical differences  Todays idea of childhood is a quite new invention.  Ariès – between the 10th and 13th century childhood didn’t exist. Children were not seen to have a different nature or needs from adults. This is shown by the art, children were depicted as smaller – not as having any different characteristics.  Shorter – parental attitude was different. High death rates encouraged indifference and neglect toward infants.  Ariès – elements of the modern notion of childhood started to emerge:  Schools started to specialise in education of the young.  Growing distinction between children's and adults clothing.  18th century – handbooks on childbearing were available.  Pollock – criticises Ariès, its more correct to say that in the Middle Ages society had a different notion of childhood than today.
  6. 6. Why the position of children has changed  Laws restricting child labour – children are now an economic liability.  Introduction of compulsory schooling in 1880 – increasing leaving age has extended the period of dependency.  Child protection & welfare legislation – 1889 Prevention of Cruelty to Children Act  Growth of the idea of child rights – parents have ‘responsibilities’ to their children.  Declining family size and lower infant mortality rates – greater investment.  Children's health and development became he subject of medical knowledge. Donzelot says theories of child development appeared in the 19th century.  Laws and policies that apply specifically to children – minimum drinking age etc.
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Made for the purpose of revision of AQA's AS level sociology, the topic Family & Households. A slideshow on the 4 different sub-topics within the main topics of childhood and childhood as a social construct. Includes: modern western notion of childhood, cross-cultural differences, historical differences and why the position of children has changed. Sociologists names and studies.

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