CHILDHOOD. ‘children should be seen and not heard’. Childhood Vs Adulthood. Note down as many words as you can that you associate with childhood and adulthood 2 minutes. EG – OLD, RESPONSIBILITY…. EG – FUN, GAMES …. Socially construction of childhood.
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Childhood Vs Adulthood • Note down as many words as you can that you associate with childhood and adulthood • 2 minutes EG – OLD, RESPONSIBILITY…. EG – FUN, GAMES…
Socially construction of childhood • For sociologists childhood is socially constructed • Created and defined by society • What people mean by childhood and the position that children occupy in society, is not fixed, it differs between different times, places and cultures
Common beliefs about childhood Childhood is separate to adulthood, it is a clear and distinct stage Read through the following statements do you agree / disagree? • Children are fundamentally different from adults • Physically & psychologically immature • Not competent to run their own lives • They need a long period of socialising and care before they are ready for adult society
Separateness of childhood Suggest 3 examples of ways in which childhood is seen as ‘a clear and distinct life stage’ • Dress • Play • Regulations (laws) • Innocence/vulnerable • Kept ‘quarantined’
Social construction of childhood ‘Childhood is socially constructed. It is in other words, what members of societies, at particular times and in particular places, say it is. There is no single universal childhood, experienced by all.’ Stephen Wagg 1992
Variation of childhood over time… • How do you think childhood has varied over time? • What was it like to be a child in the middle ages (1100 – 1400)?
Philippe Aries (1960) Historian Middle ages childhood did not exist • Children – ‘mini adults’ • Same rights, duties and skills • Law often made no distinction • Used art to support his ideas • Now we live in a society obsessed with childhood – ‘cult of childhood’
Variation of childhood in different places… • How does childhood vary culturally • Different countries, different cultures? • T-P-S
Cross cultural differences in childhood • Non industrial societies • They take responsibility at an early age • Less value is placed on children showing obedience to adult authority • Children’s sexual behaviour is often viewed differently • Laws and regulations? UK Vs Europe & US
Child Soldiers • http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=SBcNMzQvvhU • http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=hNnXGV4KjEw • Note down key statistics you can use in your essay as you watch the clip • What do these images tell us about childhood around the world?
Examples of cross-cultural differences in childhood • Rural Bolivia – children expected to work once they are 5, they take on this task without question/hesitation
YES – ‘March of progress’ sociologists No conflict theory – Marxist & Feminist sociologists So is childhood in contemporary Britain society positive for everyone?
Some quick UK facts • By the time a child reaches their 21st birthday they will have cost their parents an average of £186, 000 • The government spends an estimated £64 Billion on education • In 1900 the infant mortality rate was 154 per 1000 births, today it is 5 per 1000
March of progress view • Aries (1960) & Shorter (1975) • Today’s children are; • more valued • better cared for • Protected & educated • Enjoy better health • Have more rights • What evidence is there to support their view?
Evidence for the ‘march of progress view’; • Children are protected from harm and exploitation by laws against child abuse & child labour (1989 UN Rights of a child) • Specialists look after their educational, psychological & medical needs (64 billion spent on education) • Babies have a much higher chance of survival • Higher living standards & smaller family sizes • Family & society has become ‘Child-centred’
Has the position of children improved? The ‘march of progress’ view is that the position of children has improved dramatically in a relatively short space of time. However conflict sociologists such as Marxists and feminists dispute this
The conflict view • The march of progress view is based on a false and idealised image that ignores important inequalities The inequalities between children and adults are greater than ever: children today experience greater control, oppression and dependency There are inequalities among children in terms of the opportunities and risks they face: many today remain unprotected and badly cared for
Neil Postman (1983)The end of childhood? • Childhood is only possible if children can be protected from the adult world. • Mass media have brought the adult world into the lives of children. Secrecy has been wiped out by TV. • The boundaries between the worlds of children and adults are breaking down – this means the end of childhood.
Postman - Dual status • Postman has been criticised for exaggerating. • TV and media have brought adult concerns into the lives of children, but childhood is notdisappearing. • E.g. Children have become a major economic force • Lee - childhood has not disappeared, it has become more complex and ambiguous.
Possible essay question - Childhood • Assess the view that the position of childhood has improved in contemporary society (30 marks).
Has the position of children improved? • Work in pairs to complete your planning grid – looking over your notes and writing them in either the for/against column • Key points – arguments for/against • Evidence – statistics / sociologists
Essay stucture; • Point • Explanation • Evidence • Link
Assess the view that the position of childhood has improved in contemporary society • P – ‘March of progress’ sociologists believe that the position of children has improved dramatically • E – They believe that compared to childhood in previous centuries in the 2oth century children have a much more positive experience • E – Shorter 1975 argues that today’s children are better cared for protected and educated. This can be seen in that the government now spends an estimated 64 million on education. • L – By spending a number of years in education children in today’s society do not have to work and are therefore able to enjoy their childhood making it a more positive experience
Assess the view that the position of childhood has improved in contemporary society • P-However conflict sociologists disagree, they highlight that even in contemporary British society childhood is not positive for everyone. • E- Abuse • E- Statistics – Handout NSPCC • L
Assess the view that the position of childhood has improved in contemporary society • P- It can also be argued childhood varies and is experienced differently in different cultures and countries (cross cultural variation). • E – Not all children have a positive experience it is dependent on the country they are born in. • E - In Bolivia children are expected to work from the age of 5 and in some countries in Africa children become soldiers as young as 5 & 6. • L – For children in these situations today their position has not improved. However the UN Rights of a Child Act- 1989has tried to improve the experience of all children worldwide.
Assess the view that the position of childhood has improved in contemporary society • P - Due to media exposure, some sociologist argue that childhood innocence does not last vey long and children are becoming exposed to the adult world too soon. • E - • E – Neil Postman argues that the Media mean childhood is no longer protected • L
Childhood essay plan In groups using your notes construct a plan as to how you would tackle this question using the PEEL format
Plenary • Key terms snake;
Studies tables • Using your notes complete your studies tables for the studies we have covered so far… Key studies; • Postman • Phillipe Aries • Add in any additional studies/criticism from you handout
Mock tomorrow • Must gain a D grade to be entered for your January Exam • Otherwise you will sit this in the Summer alongside your Education paper