Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Why Being a Child Is Changing All the Time; STEPHEN LAMBERT on the Changing Face of Childhood in the 21st Century

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Why Being a Child Is Changing All the Time; STEPHEN LAMBERT on the Changing Face of Childhood in the 21st Century

Article excerpt

CHILDHOOD can be seen as a social construction. In other words it's not a natural or biological state but is shaped by culture, history and society.

There's cross-cultural evidence to support this view. Anthropological studies show that other countries treat youngsters differently. Likewise the historian Philippe Aries has argued that the idea of childhood didn't exist until medieval Europe. He based his theory on contemporary letters, diaries and the way children were depicted in paintings at the time.

Children were regarded as little adults and were treated as such. Many worked alongside adults in the fields or in the old cottage industries.

Aries views the modern concept of childhood as developing from the separation of children from the world of adults.

During the Industrial revolution children and adults worked together in both factories and workshops.

By the mid 19th Century factory acts together with the growth of compulsory education banned the employment of children in coal mines and factories accompanied by the development of experts specialising in children. …

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