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Assess childhood is not a fixed universal experience

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Introduction

Assess the view that childhood in not a fixed universal experience. Childhood, based on sociologist opinions is that it is not a fixed universal experience, this is called social construct, meaning that the ideas about what childhood is varied according to time, location, gender, ethnicity and social class. This is a relative and not an absolute concept. So basically each individual's society differently defines childhood and determines how the children should be treated. In the Pre-industrial times, children were seen as little adults, and they took part in the same work and play activities as the adults. As soon as the children were physically able they would be sent to do labouring in the fields. They were seen as a unit of production. The children's leisure time was short and for them life was very hard. Phillipe Aries (1962) says that children were regarded as an economic asset rather than a symbol of love for one another. ...read more.

Middle

and love they needed which resulted in the high infant mortality rate, but in today's society now there is an increase in medical knowledge and that each child is cared and nurtured for that this mortality rate has dropped. When the education law was introduced making free mainstream school for every child till the age of 16. This increased the amount children that are dependent on adults, which kept them as children for longer. Laws were introduced such as the Prevention of Cruelty to Children Act 1889 and more recently Children's Act 1989. Also the children stopped been economic producers and came consumers. Adults now work less than they did in the 19th century so they have more time to spend with their children, resulting in the family becoming more child-centred. Finally they have age restrictions on things such as cigarettes and alcohol are age restricted to 18 and over, also the age of sexual consent is 16. These changes in the law and general society just show how childhood has progressed through the different times. ...read more.

Conclusion

he claims children are growing up too quickly and loosing their innocence. He says evidence for this is, underage sex, drinking, smoking, teenage pregnancies, children wearing older clothes and watching adult television, films and playing violent computer games. Although these point are valid they can be argued that if the correct parental supervision that they will stay children longer. In conclusion we can see just how much the society has changed when it comes to childhood, from the pre-industrial time been when childhood were none existent, where they were forced to work resulting in them suffering a hard life, and been a unit of production, how we know childhood today. The child-centred society, children are now greatly cared for and are valued. The laws which have been put into place to ensured children have a good quality of life, although we know of the exceptions, such as bullying, child abuse and divorce which effect children greatly. Although it is argued that childhood is dying, the progressive development in childhood has overall been a positive outcome. ...read more.

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