Social Construction Of Childhood

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Introduction to Child Studies: Written individual assignment (EXA2) 1. Brockliss and Montgomery (2013: 79) present three major themes in European construction of childhood. These three are themes are “childhood as a time of evil and wildness” (80), “childhood as a blank slate” (82), and “childhood as a time of innocence” (83). In this exam response, each of the three will be briefly described according to Brockliss and Montgomery, and the relevant educational approaches to each will be discussed. Finally, the expression “childhood as a social construction” will be briefly defined. The theme that constructs children as evil and “innately sinful” (Brockliss and Montgomery 2013: 80) is rooted in Christian thought and theology which…show more content…
In articulating this critical response, Gallacher and Kehily (2013: 227) refer to work by researchers Prout and James (1997) who outline certain characteristics of sociocultural approaches to the study of childhood which “value children’s contributions to society on their own terms” (Gallacher and Kehily 2013: 227). Such approaches see children as active in their own construction rather than mere subjects of a programmed developmental process. Nevertheless, Gallacher and Kehily (2013) also emphasize that Prout and James’ outlined characteristics do not “adequately summarise all of the diverse work in the sociocultural study of childhood, but it does provide a useful summary of some key ideas within the field”…show more content…
Such standardization can be helpful for the sake of study; yet such universality can be wrongfully applied to childhood studies, particularly when equally applying them to minority and majority worlds; portions of Woodhead’s chapter (2013: 134-145) address this criticism. Yet it is much more difficult to apply such a standardization of values when applying an anthropological approach to childhood. For this reason, Montgomery (2013) emphasizes that “social scientists try to suspend judgement in order to understand the nature and causes of [child-rearing] practices concerned” (174). Perhaps the key word in this statement is “try” as Montgomery continues: “judgements can be both implicit and explicit, and cultural relativism is sometimes a difficult position to maintain”
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