Understanding childhood: A Cross Disciplinary Approach

Front Cover
Mary Jane Kehily
Policy Press, 2013 - Social Science - 318 pages
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Nationally and globally, childhood has become a crucial topic of sociopolitical debates and policy initiatives. Understanding Childhood offers a fresh look at how childhood has changed in recent years. It reveals how children's needs and experiences have achieved a new visibility in wider social and political discourse.   Despite the privileges afforded to children in the West, the typical childhood experience there is no longer seen as an ideal model for other parts of the globe. Recent reports and policy concerns suggest that growing up in the West may be marked by the commercialization of childhood, which can lead to unhappiness, poor health, loss of innocence, and a general lack of well-being. The contributors here introduce readers to the cross-disciplinary field of childhood studies and offer an exciting and unique exploration of childhood as a concept, in the process engaging with a range of contemporary issues that shape our ideas of childhood both as an ideal and as a lived experience. Exploring childhood from a variety of research perspectives and traditions, Understanding Childhood also serves as a powerful introduction to careers in childhood service.
 

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Contents

Chapter 1
1
1 Introduction
3
2 Contours of a crisis
5
3 Crisis in context
12
4 Parenting in late modernity
20
5 Conclusion
29
References
30
Reading A Can these be children?
32
from the armchair to the field
164
3 Margaret Mead and childhood
174
4 Anthropolgy within the new social studies of childhood
178
5 Conclusion
192
child punishment in Tonga
195
Reading B Childrens views of death
201
Reading C The spiritual lives of Beng infants
206
Chapter 5
211

mothering commerce and the culture of childrens birthday parties
37
Reading C Buy a better baby
46
Chapter 2
53
1 Introduction
55
3 Influential historians of childhood
67
4 Major themes in European constructions of childhood
79
5 Conclusion
86
References
87
Reading A Child witches in seventeenth century Germany
89
childhood 19501973
94
Chapter 3
99
1 Introduction
101
2 The emergence of child development
102
3 A new science of child study
112
4 Stages of development
126
5 Development in context
134
6 Conclusion
143
References
146
Reading A A biographical sketch of an infant
150
Reading B Young childrens understanding of other people
154
Untitled
161
1 Introduction
163
Untitled
213
2 Making the familiar strange
214
3 Development and socialisation
219
4 The new social studies of childhood
224
Untitled
239
6 Conclusion
248
References
249
Reading A Exploited or empowered?
253
Reading B The social production of children as subjects
263
Chapter 6
267
1 Introduction
269
2 Types of data
270
3 Quantative data
273
4 Qualitative data
285
5 The choice between using quantitative and qualitative data
294
6 Evaluative versus documentary orientations
299
7 Conclusion
303
References
304
Acknowledgements
306
Index
309
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About the author (2013)

Mary Jane Kehily is professor of childhood and youth studies at the Open University.

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