American childhood as a social and cultural construct

Today, most people in the U. We think children are more vulnerable and innocent than adults and should be protected from many of the burdens and responsibilities that adult life requires. Indeed, We cling to a fantasy that once upon a time childhood and youth were years of carefree adventure…The notion of a long childhood, devoted to education and free from adult responsibilities, is a very recent invention, and one that became a reality for a majority of children only after World War II. Most of us would be shocked by the level of adult responsibilities children were routinely expected to shoulder a century ago.

American childhood as a social and cultural construct

Befitting a burgeoning field, historians are currently engaged in all areas of scholarship—compiling anthologies, creating reference works, and crafting both monographs and comprehensive synthetic overviews. Both the emerging nature of the field and the genre-challenging creative scholarship of its creators have guaranteed that key historiographical questions and assumptions about periodization are very much open to debate.

As historians write the experiences of youth into the narratives of American history, they have also identified some important methodological challenges. What are the benefits and limitations of memoirs in reconstructing the experience of youth?

How to balance the realities of a category of historical inquiry defined by certain biological and development distinctions with an understanding of the historical construction of childhood?

How to locate the historical child within complex and evolving ideologies of childhood? General Overviews Two decades after the publication of Ketta seminal work on youth, and the scholarship created in its wake, both scholars and popular writers such as Thomas Hine Hine and Grace Palladino Palladino were ready to try their hand at synthetic overviews of the history of American childhood.

Some scholars attempted to organize centuries of material around the character of sources, including Calverta work on material culture that stands as a corrective to works based largely on print sources in general, and prescriptive literature in particular.

Others chose to organize overviews around a central conceptual idea. Mintz argues that all of these disparate trends must be synthesized to arrive at a full portrait of the historical development of American childhood.

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Children in the House: The Material Culture of Early Childhood, — Northeastern University Press, Material objects, she posits, are imbued with commonplace ideas people do not bother to write down, thus revealing agreed-upon social norms about the nature of childhood.

Calvert makes broad arguments about patterns of materiality in culture while staying close to tangible sources. Growing Up in America. Harvard University Press, An analysis of one or two individuals is embedded in a series of thematic narratives, including on the privatization of the family and the rise of consumer culture.

The Rise and Fall of the American Teenager. Hine argues that teenagers are unfairly criticized for being irresponsible by the same adults who took meaningful responsibilities away from them.

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His highly readable prose appeals to undergraduates, even as the coverage spanning two hundred years necessitates superficial coverage of important themes.

University of Pennsylvania Press, Material on the 19th century focuses on the growth of urban industrialism, while material on the 20th century details the divergent experiences of suburban and urban youth. Illick stresses the structural economic inequalities that shape the lives of youth.

Adolescence in America, to the Present.

Different cultures, different childhoods - OpenLearn - Open University

Ironically, the text now appears to be read more broadly outside the field than within it and so remains a starting point for conversations with scholars in other disciplines. A History of American Childhood. It is an invaluable teaching aid for syllabus construction and lecture preparation, if not for actual undergraduate reading lists.

The text is quite appealing to undergraduates.

American childhood as a social and cultural construct

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login. How to Subscribe Oxford Bibliographies Online is available by subscription and perpetual access to institutions. For more information or to contact an Oxford Sales Representative click here.In American society, childhood is a key to understanding the transmission of class status, the construction of ethnic and gender identities, the development of a consumer economy, and.

American Childhood As A Social And Cultural Construct  Childhood is such a universal feature of human life, it’s a natural stage of development People in modern Western societies have an unquestioned belief that children are fundamentally different from adults.

CHILD LABOR AND THE SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION OF CHILDHOOD #GreatRead «Welcome to the Doctor's Office — September 5, [ ] from SocImages [ ] famousblueraincoat — September 5, For the last week of December, we’re re-posting some of our favorite posts from Today, most people in the U.S.

see childhood as a stage distinct from adulthood, and even from adolescence. ³Beyond Sentimentality: American Childhood as a Social and Cultural Construct.² The Family in Transition, 13th edition, edited by Arlene Skolnick and Jerome Skolnick (Boston: Allyn & . “American Childhood As a Social and Cultural Construct” in Families as They Really Are. pp. only. RG: Give two examples of specific changes that have occurred in our view of childhood and children since the 18 th century%(7).

SAGE Reference - The Social and Cultural Construction of American Childhood