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Lecture 3

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John Mitterer

1 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) 2 C) Shifts in material conditions 1) Features of Western industrialization 2) Work and the lives of children • Shift to labour outside the home • Working children • Bourgeois children and the private sphere -Public/private split -Focus on domesticity 3) Compulsory schooling • Shift away from apprenticing or learning in home • Gradual shift to include working children 4) Consolidating middle class childhood • Social Reformers • E.g. Factory Acts 1871 1881 1891 1901 1911 Children* 7101 9018 10354 5065 5178 Full 87 281 118 308 166 326 142 330 212 330 Workforce
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