Childhood is a social construction, as it is not natural, and is a result of society identifying and labelling a phase of life. No child experiences exactly the same childhood at exactly the same period of time in their life. In turn childhood should be distinguished from biological life stages. How we treat children, expect them to behave, look and develop all vary depending on the time and place in which the society lies, therefore childhood is a social construction.
One view sociologists take on childhood, is the march of progress view. This view argues that over the past centuries, the position of children in society has steadily improved and that it is substantially better today, due to the introduction of various laws, children have become more protected, cared for and treated differently to adults. Whereas the other view taken on this subject is the conflict view, in which sociologists argue that childhood has not improved, as inequalities still exist, such as children suffering under the oppression of adults which can often come in the form of physical, sexual or emotional abuse. They believe childhood is based on a false idealised image that ignores important inequalities.
March of progress sociologists believe that there are many differences between now and then, to prove that children are more valued, cared for, protected, educated and set apart from adults. The March of Progress view argues that society has begun to recognise that childhood is a phase in life at which point children should be treated differently to adults in order to maintain their innocence, as they are too young to fully understand the world in which they live.
The first noticeable difference between adults and children in society was from the 13th century onwards, when the introduction of child specific clothing had been introduced, as before then, adults and children dressed the same (Philippe Aries 1960). The Education Act (1870) made school attendance compulsory for...
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