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Construction of Childhood

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Contextual Studies Children & Young People Module ref: SS2023 In part one of this essay I will explain the concept of "social construction of childhood" and will analyse its changing nature over time as a result of societal and state attitudes and activity. Finally I will relate these changes to the provision of institutional care for children and young people. Childhood and it's Construction is a transition through different stages of life, a biological development process from growing up and ageing. The construction of childhood, firstly we must look at the society that we live in and equally important the cultural background we come from. These factors help shape and construct childhood, some good and some bad. Child Care, Social Work, Poor Laws and poverty has come a long way and has evolved into what we know today in that social policy plays a big part in the attempt to eradicate poverty. If we look back in history and to the Victorian period, it gives us some understanding of how childhood and society has changed. Care Work or Social work in this period had it roots in the Poor Law and the voluntary organizations such as the Church. The Poor Law Act of 1834 was based on the idea that people were poor through their own fault, but what the Poor Law did was to help those capable of work, and that was to help them and support them in the workhouses where conditions were harsh and labour was long. In other words it could be said that the Poor Law administrators were the first state social workers in that they were responsible for providing very basic welfare. Professional care however was a long way off! The Victorian period was based on power due to the attitude at that time and especially the class system. Children from rich families had a better standard of education wore better clothes, better housing and had food. ...read more.


and educating children, and keeping them safe in a some what homely environment, must have looked a long way of when people like Beveridge, Kilbrandon and Rowntree completed their research. But what was significant, was that these were crucial steps in the right direction and with Government policies and law making the way to achieve them, rights of the children were being recognized. But we must not forget that no matter what law is passed and what the white papers say, children from even the most deprived backgrounds their families remain the corner stone in the care of the children. We see this daily in residential care, children always want to go home the attachment is always strong regardless of class, religion, race or background. Part two of this essay is going to examine and analyse how poverty impacts on the lives of children and young people. There are facts, figures and estimations to how many children are living in households where income is much less than the average wage. I will also look at factors relevant to poverty such as Class stratification, Education and Employment. For this purpose and in order to understand the concept of who is poor and in poverty and how this impacts on peoples lives, we need to know what poverty is. Poverty Poverty is the "condition of being poor ", and Sociologists define this as Relative poverty, Absolute poverty and Relative Deprivation. Relative poverty is related to the standards of a particular society at a particular time. It depends on the society a dividing line, which separates the poor from other members of society. Individuals are said to be in poverty because they lack resources to acquire different types of diet, lack education, high unemployment and participate in activities and have the living conditions and amenities which are accustomed, encouraged or even approved, in society to which they belong. ...read more.


They see at first hand high levels of poverty, experience discrimination and live in an oppressive environment where there is high level of unemployment. They will feel socially excluded from mainstream life, not only have they felt let down by social policies, they may well have been labelled and stereotyped by society through cultural assumptions without any attempt being made to look at their personal or family backgrounds. Due to personal values, lack of education, oppressive social policies, theses young people I work with could remain as their parents are, in a state of poverty and a feeling of helplessness. The continual cycle of deprivation will continue if not broken by the young people themselves or by governmental policies and the eradication of poverty. Young people come into care oppressed and will leave without any goals to help change their life chances. Governments need to do more and keep doing so in order to get the poorer people to enter the labour market. Part of this must be the continual fight against social exclusion from lone parents to inclusion of young people into education, but there must also be a shift in aspiration from young people not to emulate their parents and remain stuck in the poverty trap but use the government strategies to have a better chance to find a job and move out of poverty and into a way of living that will enhance their life chances and undoubtedly their health and way of living. Word Count3177 MN 0612137 Reference Aries, P Centuries of Childhood, last sited 30th November http://www.Scotland. Gov/Publications/2006/06/07104155/0 Beveridge Report 1942 last sited 25th November http://www.Ise.uk/resources/LESHistory/beveridge.report.htm Haralambos & Holborn. M (1995), Sociology Themes and Perspectives, 4th edition, Collins Educational, London. Giddens, A (2001), Sociology 5th edition Polity Press, Blackwell Publishing Oxford. Declaration of the Rights of the Child, last sited 27th November http:www.cirp.org/library/ethics/un-declaration. Scottish Executive publications. Robert Gordon University (2006), Contextual Studies Module, (Residential Child Care), Aberdeen. Gordon, D (2000), Poverty and Social Exclusion in Britain, York, Joseph Rowntree Foundation. ...read more.

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