Social Context Account

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This account will briefly explore historical attitudes towards children. It will also in more detail, explore attitudes surrounding childhood in the late eighties and nineties. It will also look into the interaction between class, gender, ethnicity, rights and childhood. I grew up in a London suburb in late eighties and nineties. I lived with parents and two younger brothers and I will use my childhood experiences to support the account. Modern understandings of childhood are full of ideologies. These ideologies have been born from assumptions by adults who are unable to reflect on childhood effectively. ‘The ending of childhood is inevitability suffused with loss, not least the loss of any ability to witness those years with clarity.’(Brooks, 2006, p.4) Over time childhood has acquired many facets including the natural and vulnerable child of Rousseau in the eighteenth century, to the romantic child who interacted with their society. More recently children have become the educated child and the child of the welfare state. Combined together these facets have created confusion and conflicting ideas of what a child and childhood is. ‘Childhood has become the crucible into which is ground each and every adult anxiety – about sex, consumerism, technology, safety, achievement, respect, the proper shape of a life.’ (Brooks, 2006, p.16) The child as a universal concept is problematic because depending on many factors ‘the child’ is living in different social contexts that could be seen as his or her childhood. The United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child (1989) is the most ratified convention in the world. However the CRC assumes a universal understanding of the child again based on adult understanding of childhood. Although Britain ratified to the CRC in 1991, it has been criticised heavily for preserving the right of parents and carers to physically chastise their children. During my childhood I was only smacked three times. My mother was smacked as a...