Childhood, Volume 2

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Chris Jenks
Routledge, 2005 - Social Science - 173 pages
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In this book Chris Jenks looks at what the ways in which we construct our image of childhood can tell us about ourselves. After a general discussion of the social construction of childhood, the book is structured around three examples of the way the image of the child is played out in society:

  • the history of childhood from medieval times through the enlightenment 'discovery' of childhood to the present
  • the mythology and reality of child abuse and society's response to it
  • the 'death' of childhood in cases such as the James Bulger murder in which the child itself becomes the perpetrator of evil.

Part of the highly successful Key Ideas series, this book gives students a concise, provocative insight into some of the controlling concepts of our culture.

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Jenks offers an intensely academic study of the phenomenon of childhood, proposing that a unified field of study is emergent. Unfortunately his examination feels distinctly European, and oftentimes neglects the effects of consumerist culture and Americanism. However, there is more value in this treatise than otherwise. 

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About the author (2005)

Chris Jenks studied at the universities of Surrey and London. He is Lecturer in Sociology at Goldsmith College, University of London.

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