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As a general rule, family sizes have decreased over the last 50 years or so. From an economic perspective, children have also become more of an economic liability as they are no longer able to work to provide an income to the family and so families generally invest more time and money in raising one or two children well.

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This child-centredness, according to Aries undoubtedly results in a more positive life experience for children over the last 50 years or so. According to Palmer, the rapid changes in both culture and technology that have occurred have had a negative impact on children because they have exposed children to unsuitable content at a younger age such as that of an explicitly sexual or violent nature, or even through areas such as advertising, children are being bombarded with unrealistic and negative expectations about appearance and body image.

Even within the food industry there has been an explosion of fast-food culture and the range available to children has been increased by globalisation and the pressure to be part of a consumer culture according to Marxists. Children therefore are engaging in risky behaviours such as drinking, drugs, smoking and premature sexual behaviours which can be hugely damaging to their health and their future.

This suggests that contrary to the march of progress view, the experiences of childhood over the last 50 years have not actually improved.


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Postmodernists however would be quick to point out that it is difficult to generalise about experiences of childhood as not all children will share the same experience, even within larger social categories relating to class, gender and ethnicity. Even if we did accept that generalisations could be made within these larger social groups, Feminists for example would point out that experiences of childhood will differ significantly according to gender. Similarly, Bonke found that girls are expected to do significantly more domestic labour than boys which results in a more negative experience of childhood.

This evidence suggests that experiences of childhood vary hugely according to social factors and as such we cannot make the assertion that it has improved over the last 50 years. A final argument to suggest that experiences of childhood may not have improved over the last 50 years relates to the age patriarchy Gittens that still exists between adults and children. Sociologists such as Firestone and Holt argue that all these areas of control suggest that what march of progress theories regard as care and protection are actually means of oppression and control.

Social construction of gender

This suggests that despite appearances experiences of childhood have not improved over the last 50 years or so. Based on the evidence presented there are a number of issues that might explain the changing social position of children over the last 50 years. However there is still significant debate about whether or not the impact on childhood experience has been a positive one - and there is also the question of whether or not we can generalise about childhood and experiences of childhood as they vary significantly according to social factors.

This suggests that the fact that childhood is itself a social construction makes it difficult to draw firm conclusions about the way it is experienced on an individual level.

Naturally, there are many different possible answers to this questions and students should not worry if their answer is different to ours. These answers are not approved or endorsed by AQA. Join s of fellow Sociology teachers and students all getting the tutor2u Sociology team's latest resources and support delivered fresh in their inbox every morning.

Joseph is a Subject Advisor for Psychology at tutor2u.


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  7. He is currently completing a Professional Doctorate in Education and is passionate about the impact of technology on teaching and learning. An opportunity to They are pampered and protected to within an inch of their life. We protect too much out of good intentions and the child never learns resilience, persistence or self-reliance. Another way we adults make a mess out of parenting is our inability to discipline our children.

    Sorin and Galloway argue that the snowballing child is a social construct of childhood that frames children as desiring — and taking — power from parents. Before long, this child has no boundaries and knows that a simple temper tantrum will deliver them whatever they desire. This image saw a surge in popularity as society and consumer culture became liberalized and companies sought newer, raunchier and edgier ways to turn a dime.

    Social construction of gender - Wikipedia

    However, images of the sexualized child also draw our minds to the shadows of society. Child slavery and sex trafficking continues to occur in many parts of society, to the horror of right-thinking people around the world. The commodified child is seen less for its innate worth as a human being and more for its economic worth. Adults use the commodified child for financial gain. They turn children into movie stars, then pocket the profits; they force them to work in order to generate money; and they sell images of their child for their own personal gain.

    The premise behind the commodified child perspective is that parents or adults will use children to generate money for their own good, without regard for the welfare of the child.

    The victim child is a child who is voiceless and oppressed by social, political and economic forces out of their control. The victim child is the child suffering from famine or displaced due to war. Victim children are often unseen and unheard. They exist in every country in the world, but are more often seen in nations torn apart by war and poverty. Victim children often have no adults to advocate for them and protect them, or the adults in their lives are also victims themselves. Noble children are children who are seen as saviours whose role is to save adults from themselves.

    They save the world, the adults in the world, and all of their friends. The noble child can also be a child who steps in and take an adult role when there is no competent adult to do the role for them. This is most commonly seen when children lose their parents, and the oldest child assumes the role of the mother.

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    Here are two examples of the noble child:. It is a very common trope in movies that the child takes a minor role in a movie, but plays an important role as the bearer or all wisdom. The adult in the movie might find themselves in a tricky situation and ask the child for advice. The child, regularly, has very wise advice to give out of the blue! The difference between the wise child and the noble child is that the noble child is an anointed saviour, while the wise child will lose their wisdom as they move towards adulthood.

    While we talk about social constructions of childhood, many feminist scholars also talk about the social construction of gender. At the intersection of these two concepts is the social construction of gender in childhood.


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    All our perceptions of girls liking princesses may, maybe, have to do with the fact that media has reinforced this perception over and over again. Others disagree that this is a social construct of childhood, and argue that there are some things biologically built into us that make girls and boys gravitate toward different activities. This perspective of childhood holds the belief that children are competent and capable. Agentic children are consulted and their opinions, thoughts and feelings.

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    Thus, they are given more chances to be parts of participatory democratic society. This essay argues that gender is socially constructed on an everyday basis. To further explain this thesis the essay will draw on early childhood socialization of masculinity and femininity, it will then examine the hegemonic male that is demonstrated through dominant music and sport forms. To finalize explanations for this thesis, the essay will conclude with an in depth analysis of constructions of femininity that exist in print media and that permeate the profession of female sports commentators.

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