Sociology of Children and Childhood
Sociology of Family, Books, Syllabus, Prayer
"I was not a desperate wandering soul in search of a body.
It was no favour giving birth to me" - vpr
"An estimated 215 million boys and girls aged 5-17
were engaged in child labour in 2008, 115 million of them in hazardous work." - State
of the World's Children 2012 Report of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).
Available in PDF uni.cf/zLwQa6
We had laws to protect animals before we had them to protect
children. The laws against cruelty to children that were enacted in the United States
after 1875, at which time the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
demonstrated that it was possible to prosecute parents for the abuse of children under
laws against cruelty to animals.
Sociology of Children and Childhood is about childrens nature,
needs, interests, values, morals, and capabilities.
An examination of the changing social circumstances of contemporary
childrens lives, social class differences in childrens life experiences,
traditional and emerging perspectives on childhood socialization,
recent research on gender and racial socialization of
children, methodological issues involved in studying
children and peer cultures created by children.
Sociology of Children and Childhood puts all aspects of childrens lives at
the center of investigation. And, rather than assuming that children are passive
participants in interactions that involve adults.
The new Sociology of Children and Childhood starts from the assumption that
children are active participants; rather than simply responding to the demands,
instructions, or interpretations of adults.
Until the late 1980s, sociologists tended to include children in studies as
passive objects in an adult-controlled process of socialization and as causes or victims
of social problems.
"Treacherous though memory is, it seems to me the chief means we have of
discovering how a child's mind works." "The child and the adult live in
different worlds." --George Orwell, "'Such, Such Were the Joys'"
Lenzer, Gertrud "Children's Studies: Beginnings and Purposes"
The Lion and the Unicorn, The Johns Hopkins University Press
Excerpt: "The real question is whether it is still normal for a schoolchild to live
for years amid irrational terrors and lunatic misunderstandings. And here one is up
against the very great difficulty of knowing what a child really feels and thinks. A child
which appears reasonably happy may actually be suffering horrors which it cannot or will
not reveal. It lives in a sort of alien under-water world which we can only penetrate by
memory or divination. Our chief clue is the fact that we were once children ourselves, and
many people appear to forget the atmosphere of their own childhood almost
entirely." "Treacherous though memory is, it seems to me the chief means we
have of discovering how a child's mind works." "The child and the adult
live in different worlds." -George Orwell, "'Such, Such Were the
Objectives of a course on sociology of childhood: -
- To become familiar with research that describes changes in the societal definitions
of childhood and childrens place in society.
- To become aware of the methodological issues associated with research about
children that puts their own perspectives at center stage.
- To become more familiar with qualitative or interpretive research methods (e.g.,
ethnographies, case studies, participant observations).
- To acquire in-depth knowledge about the social, emotional, and economic
circumstances of childrens lives today and to learn how to find valid and reliable
statistical information about children on an aggregate level.
- To understand more fully the differences between sociological and psychological
perspectives on childhood.
- To have the opportunity to read original research about children that puts their
perspectives rather than adult perspectives at the center of analysis.
- To become familiar with examples of cultural artifacts created by, for, or with
Prayer Before Birth
- Louis MacNeice
I am not yet born; forgive me
For the sins that in me the world shall commit, my words
when they speak me, my thoughts when they think me,
my treason engendered by traitors beyond me,
my life when they murder by means of my
hands, my death when they live me.
I am not yet born; rehearse me
In the parts I must play and the cues I must take when
old men lecture me, bureaucrats hector me, mountains
frown at me, lovers laugh at me, the white
waves call me to folly and the desert calls
me to doom and the beggar refuses
my gift and my children curse me.
I am not yet born; O fill me
With strength against those who would freeze my
humanity, would dragoon me into a lethal automaton,
would make me a cog in a machine, a thing with
one face, a thing, and against all those
who would dissipate my entirety, would
blow me like thistledown hither and
thither or hither and thither
like water held in the
hands would spill me.