1) Examine the view that childhood is a social construction.
Social construction is the way something is created through the individual, social and cultural interpretations, perceptions and actions of people by society. I am going to discuss whether this is the case with childhood.
Childhood has changed in the last few centuries; there are many historical changes in the conception of childhood. Before 1600, the child of 5 years old belonged to the adult world of work, leisure and sex, but the interpretation from paintings used as evidence has been challenged. From 1700 to 1800 children were in economic asset. Their wages, although small, were an important financial asset to the family. New industry depended on the skills of the young. In the family they were seen as a form of insurance, and weren't greatly loved or given affection. From 1800 to 1900 children had compulsory schooling and there were restrictions on child labour.
Over the next 50 years children became economically dependent. They needed love and attention children have their own culture that is impenetrable to adults. Childhood is now idealised, as a magical time of innocence and fun. From 1950 up until the present day there is a growing awareness of children's rights and empowerment. Children are seen as active members of the family and even contribute to the domestic chores. Children are consumers.
Philip Aries feels that modern childhood is socially constructed not biological. He argues that industrialisation changed the position of children. For centuries children were seen as entering the workforce around the age of seven. From then on they dressed as adults, lived in the adult community, were expected to be part of the working world and nothing was hidden from them. They had little education and learned their skills from their family.
Parents did not seem to become quite as attached or affectionate to their children, many children died young as infant and child mortality was high. Philip...