Examine the ways in which childhood is socially constructed. In this essay I will be discussing whether childhood is a social construct or whether it is universal. This social construction is I a result of society, labeling and identifying a phase of life and giving the meaning to behavior during that phase.These constructions will different depending on the time, culture, gender and class. The opposite is true to those which believe childhood is universal as they believe childhood is acknowledged as a separate stage in every society across the world. There are cross-temporal variations in childhood. This is when our understanding has changed over time. Aries a march of progress theorist provided evidence for this. He argued “In medieval society the idea of childhood did not exist.” In the medieval paintings that he had analysed, he identified that there were clearly young people around, but they were not labelled as children nor were the treated in ways that we, nowadays, would recognise childhood. In medieval England wealthy children were permitted to carry swords and those who were poorer carried sticks for protection. This shows in the present day we believe giving children weapons for protection would be careless and that they would surely come to harm. This proves childhood to be a social construction as certain restrictions have been made to ensure their safety.
Mommy Wars. Working and stayathome moms are fighting it out over who is the better parent. Or, so you would think.
The Mommy Wars: Media Myth You go to the supermarket and as you are checking out you notice the magazines. One particular magazine catches your eye. On its glossy cover, it depicts a fight, a battle, even a war. There are two moms on the cover. One woman is in a suit, wielding a briefcase as her weapon and the other in jeans in a t-shirt holding a diaper bag. They both have children at their feet. The headline reads " The Mommy Wars Have Returned!" The Mommy wars have been around since about the Victorian age in one way or another. In 1853, Coventry Patmore wrote The Angel in the House, in which he rendered his wife as the model wife and mother (Roiphe). The quintessential mother is one who must sacrifice herself for her family (Roiphe). It was immediately successful, which caused the “Model Mother” ideal to spread throughout society. It is believed by scholars that this was the so-called “first shot” and that those ideals are the foundation of the Mommy Wars (Rophie). But, it was not until over 100 years later that the term “Mommy Wars” was coined by Leslie Morgan Steiner in her book, Mommy Wars, in 1986. Working and stay-at-home moms are fighting it out over who is the better parent. Or, so you would think. The so-called “Mommy Wars” is not actually a war of mothers against mothers. Instead, it is a war created and propagated by the media. The media,
Examine different sociological views on changes in the experience of childhood in the past 50 years (24 marks)
________________ Examine Different sociological views on changes in the experience of childhood in the past 50 years (24 marks) According to Aries (1962), childhood can be defined as a social construction. Children were once regarded as ‘little adults’ and an economic asset rather than a symbol of love due to the high death rates making it hard to emotionally invest. However, now, according to Pilcher, a key aspect of childhood is ‘separateness’ from adulthood. Aries definition of childhood as a social construction can be supported by cross-cultural differences and more specifically Punch (2001). Punch studied children in Bolivia and found that at age 5 children were expected to work and take on responsibilities. This cultural variation shows childhood to be a social construction as if it were biological everyone would have the same experiences. There have been several state policies that have constructed and defined childhood, one of which is the children’s act which aimed to give children more rights to make a positive contribution to society. It argues the best place to raise children is at home with their parents which brought about the social view that it is essential for children to spend time with immediate family in order to grow up to be independent. In addition to this, another state policy was the Factory Act which saw the removal of young children
Assess the view that the positions of men and women in the family have changed in the recent years (24 marks) Over the past few decades the roles of men and women have changed drastically. These changes occur throughout society, within a family or in a relationship. In the past, the most common relationship between the two genders would have been very different, with the men being viewed as more masculine and of higher authority, whereas the women of a society would have been viewed to have a stay at home role, where they would look after children and participate in household chores. During the 1900’s women were seen a minority, where the slightest amount of freedom would have been frowned upon. Nonetheless over the years, as we have developed, so have the different role for both genders, this now consists of sharing jobs equally in a household and around a workplace. The most obvious change within a family would be the amount of work the couple share, both in the household and outside of it. Since the 1960, where the civil rights act was released, it detailed that women were now able to work and should be offered equal opportunities as men, whereas in the past that would have been forbidden. Due to this seismic change, women are now able to provide for themselves, which in the past would have been extremely difficult as they would have essentially been dependent on
Examine the ways childhood can be said to be socially constructed. A thing which is socially constructed has been created by society. Childhood can be seen as socially constructed as it differs between cultures, religion and location. Therefore, childhood is not universal but constructed by society and in our culture, many different factors contribute to this construction. A key sociologist to look at when examining the ways in which childhood is socially constructed is Aries. Philippe Aries in the early 1960’s made a startling claim that ‘the idea of childhood did not exist’. Aries believed the concept of childhood is a relatively modern one; one that has only developed over the past 300 or so years. In this respect, whilst there were clearly "young people" around, they were not labelled as "children", nor were they treated in ways that we, nowadays, would recognise as "childhood". He mainly used paintings to study middle-age childhood in Britain. He discovered that children were not that different to adults and that the law often made no distinction between the two. Children were seen as an economic asset which is drastically different to a child in modern society which portrays how childhood changes depending on the society. Many children needed to work in pre-industrial Britain so, it is easy to see that the needs of society economically are a factor that
Outline and evaluate the claim that the family is now a symmetrical institution Many argue that the nature of the relationships between men and women within families has changed over the past 50 years. These changes are characterised in a more egalitarian or symmetrical family structure where men take a more active role in childrearing and domestic chores and women can go out to work and contribute to the family income. In this type of family responsibility is shared more equally between men and women for important decisions that affect the family. However there are others that argue that the family continues to be a patriarchal institution that oppresses women, where women are still held responsible for keeping the home and raising the children and where men still have control over the purse strings. Methodological and theoretical weaknesses with the work of the major exponents of the 'symmetrical' family have been highlighted by Ann Oakley and other feminist theorists who suggest that the changes to the family are, in fact, negligible. This essay will outline and evaluate the claim that the family is now a symmetrical institution by examining the arguments outlined above. Willmott and Young studied changes to the family structure of working class families over time. From their research they identified four main stages of the family. The stage 1 family was common
Using material from Item A and elsewhere assess the contribution of functionalism to our understanding of families and households. Functionalists believe that society is based on value consensus so we all share the same norms and values. They also believe that society is made up of different parts and that we all work together much like a human body. Functionalists take a very positive view on the family as they think it is one of the main institutions that keep society together. As item A states, George Murdock believes that the family has four functions for both society as a whole and for individual members. These functions are reproduction, stabilisation, socialisation and meeting economic needs. Because of these four functions he believes the family is universal. However he only focuses on the nuclear family and doesn’t take in to consideration other family types. An example of how his theory has been criticised is the kibbutz where they separated children from their parents to try and produce gender equalities. In this society the only function that was carried out was reproduction therefore the family is not universal. Another view on the family is Talcott Parsons functional fit theory. He believes that the different types of family fits different the type of society. He focuses largely on the nuclear family and the extended family. He stated that the nuclear family
Assess the contribution of functionalism to our understanding of families and households. Functionalist sociologists believe that the family is the key institution of society and that it performs vital functions for the maintenance of society as a whole as well as for individual members. According to Murdock, it provides important sub-system that provides stable satisfaction for the sex drive and therefore avoids social disruption. As well as this, Murdock says the family reproduces the next generation and thus ensuring current society to continue. Parsons argued that the pre-industrial society was focused on the extended family. Roles in these families were always based on ascription, not achievement. According to parsons, industrialisation had many effects on the family. This meant that the economy demanded a more geographically mobile workforce. Nuclear families were formed as people moved away their extended kin in order to take advantage of job opportunities. Specialized Agencies took over many functions of the family e.g., families could now buy food and clothes mass-produced by factories. New nuclear family provided the husband and wife with clear social roles. Wives were expressive Leaders (takes care of children and provides emotional support), Husbands were Instrumental Leaders (bread winner and provides protection). Parsons concluded that the nuclear family is
Sociology Essay: Using Information from items A, B, C and elsewhere, assess the view that the nuclear family functions to benefit all its members and society as a whole. The Nuclear Family is formed from two generations, i.e. an adult heterosexual marriage and their dependent children, all living, in the same household. Each theoretical perspective all have different opinions on what the nuclear family represents. For example feminists believe the nuclear family suggests the woman would have to stay at home to cook, clean and tend the children while the man would have a job and provide the family with wealth. However, in less than 40 years, the proportion of households fitting this nuclear family description has dropped from 52 per cent to just 36 per cent of people in the U.K living as a Nuclear family. Here is a short essay discussing my view of different theoretical perspectives on whether the Nuclear family benefits all its members and society as a whole. Functionalists believe that society is based on a value consensus – a set of shared norms and values – into which society socialises its members. This enables them to cooperate harmoniously to meet society’s needs and achieve shared goals. Functionalists see the family as a particularly important to society because it plays the dominant role amongst all social institutions in making individuals feel part of wider