Examine how social, historical and spatial constructions of childhood and or youth inform the design, practices and values of a selected institution of childhood or young people.
Childhood is not a biological state, unlike infancy (Postman) it is a construction placed upon a group of humans by society (James and Prout). Differing societies have different views of what a child is and should be. The ideas surrounding children and childhood not only differ within different societies there are also historical differences in the constructs of children (Postman) as if we look throughout history it is suggested that children are a modern day construct (Postman). Aries (1962) suggests that even as early as the late seventeeth century, when childhood seemed to appear there was not a universal experience for all individuals who were of childhood age (Aries 1962). The practice of recognising children was a ‘social and economic construct, first recognised by the middle and upper classes’ (Aries 1962).
This thought is also adopted by Matthews and Limb (date) when discussing children in modern times, they suggest that although Valentine (date) suggests that children are innocent, vulnerable and dependant on both their parents and the state in order for them to engage in a happy carefree time with lack of responsibility (valentine), this is not the case for all children (Matthews and Limb). According to Matthews and Limb there are many factors that inhibit the possibility of a universal experience of childhood, including; poverty, ill health, class and gender to name but a few (Matthews and Limb).
Children and childhood are loosely used terms in which Matthews and Limb (date) suggest are umbrella concepts that are used to group together a sub culture within society (Matthews and Limb). They go on to suggest that grouping together this group and labelling them as children is similar to concept of grouping together disabled people within society, as they are also...
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