Flashcards on Childhood (4.2)

Em Maskrey
Flashcards by , created almost 3 years ago

AS level Sociology AS - Families and Households (Childhood) Flashcards on Flashcards on Childhood (4.2), created by Em Maskrey on 01/29/2017.

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Em Maskrey
Created by Em Maskrey almost 3 years ago
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Question Answer
Which sociologist stated that the modern western concept of childhood is not universal, but is instead a social construct? Stephen Wagg.
How does modern western society view childhood and children? We see childhood as a uniquely special time, with children being fundamentally different to adults.
What does Jane Pilcher argue to be the most important feature of the modern concept of childhood? Separateness - childhood is seen as a clear and distinct life stage, and children occupy their own social status.
How is separateness emphasised? Through the regulation of what children are allowed, required and forbidden to do, through the difference between children's and adults' clothing, and through products and services aimed specifically at children.
Modern western society views childhood as a 'golden age' of happiness and innocence. However, how does this view have a negative impact on children? They are therefore seen as vulnerable and in need of protection from the real world, and are kept 'quarantined' from the adult world.
Wagg takes a 'comparative approach' when considering whether childhood is a social construct. What is meant by this? He examined how children are seen and treated in times and places other than our own.
Ruth Benedict argues that children in developing countries are generally treated differently from modern western children in three major ways. What are these? 1. They take responsibility at an early age. 2. Less value is placed on children showing obedience to adult authority. 3. Children's sexual behaviour is often viewed differently.
Some sociologists argue that the modern western notions of childhood are being globalised. What evidence can they use? International welfare agencies have exported western norms of what childhood should be, and campaigns encouraging these western norms can be seen in developing countries.
The position of children differs over time, as well as between societies. Many sociologists argue that childhood as we know it is a relatively recent invention. What does Philippe Aries argue? He states that in the middle ages, childhood didn't exist.
In the middle ages, parental attitudes were also very different to those we see today, arguably due to the high IMR. Which sociologist pointed this out? Edward Shorter.
Elements of the modern notion of childhood began to emerge around the 13th century. What examples does Aries list? - Schools began educating children only. - There was a growing distinction between children's and adults' clothing. - Handbooks on childrearing became widely available.
What does Aries mean by 'cult of childhood'? We have essentially moved from a society that didn't see childhood as anything special to a society obsessed with childhood. He argues the 20th century is the 'century of the child'.
How does Linda Pollock respond to Aries' claim? She argues that childhood did exist in the middle ages, and that it simply carried different meanings then.
There are many reasons for the changes in the position of children. Give examples. - Industrialisation. - Child protection legislation. - Declining family sizes.
As a social construct, the meaning of childhood has changed over time. Furthermore, it will continue to change in the future. Which sociologist claimed that childhood is 'disappearing at a dazzling speed'? Neil Postman.
What does Postman argue caused the modern concept of childhood? Print culture.
What does Postman say print culture caused? An information hierarchy (a division between adults, who can read, and children, who cannot).
What does Postman say television culture did to this information hierarchy? It destroyed it. The information, given through television culture, can now be accessed by children and adults alike.
Which sociologist disagrees with this view? Iona Opie.
What is the flaw with Postman's research? He focuses entirely on one matter (communication technology). This is not the only factor worth considering.
What does Christopher Jenks say about modern society's view of childhood? They were concerned with 'futurity' - childhood was seen as preparation for adulthood.
What does Jenks say is happening to modern society's concept of childhood now? It's changing as society moves from modernity to postmodernity.
In postmodern society, relationships are much less stable. This has created a feeling of insecurity, and an adult's relationship with their child now has much more significance. Why has the had a negative impact on children? Parents are becoming even more protective over their children, and are setting more rules and regulations over the children's lives.
Evidence both for and against Jenks is limited. What have studies shown as evidence for, but why can these studies be dismissed as unreliable? Evidence shows parents see their relationship with their children as more important than that with their partners, and that they are extremely worried for their children's safety. However, the evidence comes from small, unrepresentative studies.
What can Jenks be criticised of? Over-generalising. He makes sweeping statements that imply all children are in the same position.
As a social construct, childhood varies between times, places and cultures. These differences raise the question of whether the position of children has improved, or worsened. What do march of progress thinkers believe? They believe that children's position within society has been steadily improving, and today, it is better than ever.
Which thinkers have the march of progress viewpoint of childhood? Lloyd deMause, Philippe Aries and Edward Shorter.
What do march of progress thinks say about the family's attitude towards children? The family is now child-centered, with children being a focal point of the family. Wider society can be seen as child-centered, too.
Sue Palmer disagrees with march of progress thinkers. What does she claim has developed in today's society? 'Toxic childhood'.
UK youth have above average rates of what? Self-harm, drug and alcohol abuse, obesity, violence, early sexual relationships and teenage pregnancies.
Conflict sociologists also disagree with the march of progress view that children's status has improved. The believe the march of progress view ignores which two important inequalities? 1. Inequalities among children. 2. Inequalities between children and adults.
What is meant by inequalities among children? Not all children share the same experiences. Nationality, ethnicity and gender all influence the way a child experiences childhood.
What is meant by inequalities between children and adults? Adults have far more power, and children are their subordinates.
March of progress thinkers believe adults use this power to benefit children, but child liberationists disagree. What do child liberationists argue? Children must be freed from adult control, which takes a number of forms in many aspects of life.
How do adults control children's space? Children are told where they can and cannot go. In 1971, 86% of primary schoolchildren were allowed to walk home alone. In 2010, this had fallen to 25%.
How do adults control children's time? Adults now decide when children will wake up, eat, go out, come home, and go to sleep. They also choose how quickly the child 'grows up', and whether the child is too young or old to do something.
How do adults control children's bodies? Adults decide how a child sits, walks, runs, and what they wear. It is taken for granted that children can be hugged, kissed, and held, without receiving their consent. At the same time, adults limit the ways in which a child touches their own body.
How do adults control children's access to resources? Children only have limited opportunities to earn money, and therefore remain economically dependent on adults. This can be compared to children in developing societies, who often begin working from a very young age.
Who argued that children are victims of 'age patriarchy'? Diana Gittins.
Evidence that children experience childhood as oppressive can be seen in what? Strategies to resist the child status. These strategies often take the form of 'acting up' (behaving in adult ways) or 'acting down' (behaving much younger than they should).
What do critics of child liberationists say? Some adult control is not only justified, but is often necessary. Furthermore, children are not powerless - in fact, they have more rights now than they ever have.
Child liberationists are critical of the 'adultist viewpoint'. What is this? Seeing children as mere socialisation projects for adults to mould. Adults may have little interest in the children themselves, only caring about what they will one day become.
Opposite to the adultist viewpoint, how does the new sociology of childhood view children? As active agents who play a major part in creating their own childhoods.