lecture 3.doc

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January 26 & 27
Lecture 3: Ideas about childhood – the west and the rest
Outline
I/ Historicizing western childhood
II/ Childhood into the 20th and 21st centuries
III/ Shaping policy: UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
IV/ Midterm Part B: Short essay assignment
Main points
Looking at history denaturalizes how we see childhood in the present
Key shifts have dramatically changed experiences of many children
The UN CRC reflects specific ideas about childhood
The UN CRC is a key policy document – with strengths and weaknesses
I/ Historicizing western childhood
A) Challenge of historical data
Limited data
Children’s voice
Interests of those producing documents
Making inferences
B) Shifts in ideas: the invention of childhood?
1) Philippe Aries – Centuries of Childhood
-Thesis
-Method
2) Debates with Aries
On the evidence
On the causes of shifts
Agreement the form that childhood takes is socially and historically specific
The nature of childhood has been defined very differently in different eras. What is regarded as good or bad
for children at any one time can change tremendously, and loving parents of one era can behave in ways
diametrically opposed to the accepted practices of another time (Calvert, 1998, p.74)
C) Shifts in material conditions
1
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