Childhood: Sociology and Children

Childhood: Sociology and Children

After industrialization, children became different to adults because children had to go to school between the ages of 5 and 11 and so children were financially dependent on their parents until the age of 11 when they were allowed to go to work and this period of dependency created the concept of childhood. Today, families in Britain are very child centered because couples have fewer children. Gotten says that children have become a luxury and the parents talk about ‘being able to afford a child’ because children can cost over El 00,000 to ease.

Mangrove, a Functionalist says that children today are of no economic use because they have to stay at school until the age of 16 and so they are financially dependent on their parents. Modern industrial society needs skills and so children have to stay in education to get their skills, usually well past the age of 1 6 and while children depend on their parents they can be classed as children. However, in many societies children do have an economic role because they start work from a very early age.

For example, feeding children ND weeding and in these societies there is no concept of childhood and so childhood must be a social construction. Marxist say the concept of childhood benefits the bourgeoisie because the bourgeoisie need a well-educated work force. They need children to stay in education for as long as possible. The bourgeoisie benefit from the ideology of the ‘responsibility of parents’ which means that parents feel that they have to pay the cost of bringing up children who will then become the next generation of workers for the bourgeoisie and so it benefits the bourgeoisie o have a concept of childhood.

The expense of childhood varies from society to society and between different social classes and genders. The street children of ROI De Jeanine in Brazil have a very different childhood to a middle class child in Britain. However, more than a quarter Of children in Britain live in poverty so their childhood is without treats and with a poor diet is very different to the childhood off middle class child in Britain. Oakley, a feminist says that childhood of a girl is very different to a childhood of boys.

Girls play with dolls, help with housework, and are encouraged to be neat and clean but boys are encouraged to get dirty playing sport and they play with cars and construction toys and are given much more freedom to explore. The childhood of boys and girls are therefore socially constructed in a different way. In conclusion, childhood is socially constructed. The experience of childhood even in Britain is not the same; much depends on gender and social class. Not all societies in the world have a concept of childhood, which shows that childhood is socially constructed.

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