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Examine the arguments and evidence in favour of the view that childhood is socially constructed

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Examine the arguments and evidence in favour of the view that childhood is socially constructed Childhood is defined as a childlike state from birth to puberty. The social construction of childhood is a concept that childhood was created by society. Childhood has changed over the years; it is mainly due to industrialisation that the concept of a childhood was invented. Pre-industrial Britain saw children as an economic asset and by the age of 5 they could work and have sex. New industries depended on the skills of the young, and they were an added insurance to the parents as they grew older. Industrial Britain saw a child's economic role become marginalised with restrictions of child labour, as the concept of 'childhood' grew. They were given compulsory schooling and were in need of protection and guidance. And finally in the 20th century children needed love and attention, and there was a growing awareness of children's rights and empowerment. ...read more.


This is evidence to show that childhood is socially constructed because with the changing attitudes laws were being put in place to stop children working to have a childhood. The working class resisted the new law as they needed their child's wage to support the family. By the 20th century, there was a distinctive emergence of a child centred society. It was a result of improved standards of health and nutrition, which led to a major decline in infant mortality. The higher standard of living meant that having children was more expensive. So people chose to have fewer and could invest in them in terms of love, socialisation and protection. Consequently, childhood was seen as a separate category from adulthood, and children were seen as needing special attention and protection. Due to this view of a childhood, the state stepped in. The parent's rearing of children is monitored though the 1980 Child Care Act and the 1991 Child Support Act. ...read more.


Firstly, LEDC's are at risk of early death because of poverty and lack of healthcare. Secondly, Sikhs and Muslims have a stronger sense of obligation to their parents than Caucasian children. Thirdly, middle class children are given more support and encouragement from parents than working class parents. And finally, boys and girls may be socialised into a set of behaviours based on expectations of masculinity and femininity. The alternative view state that childhood experiences can be damaging, and that different types of abuse all have a negative effect on children. Both these approaches see children in need of protection and care - allowing them to have a childhood. Thus proving that childhood has been created because they wouldn't have had attention and care before industrialisation. In conclusion, Childhood is a prefabricated concept that has recently occurred during the industrialisation. Childhood depends on the nationality, gender, class and ethnicity of the child. There have major steps towards making childhood and carefree as possible for the child. Britain is unlikely to revert back to pre-industrial times, as a child centred society has been created. ?? ?? ?? ?? Amy Morris 14/04/08 Family ...read more.

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