Children in Society, Culture, and the World
This book, composed of essays written over the course of twenty-five years, results from the convergence of two major intellectual developments in the last quarter of the twentieth century. The first is the slow emergence and then the rapid development of children as important subjects of study in history and in several of its affiliated disciplines, such as sociology, English literature, philosophy, and art history. The second is the mental remapping that is taking place in many disciplines as we recognize the present moment as one in which the peoples of the world are coming into closer contact through trade, migration, and the media. This phenomenon, often referred to as “globalization,” seems to have sprung up in the last two decades as free-trade rules increased access to the world's goods, its labor, and people while the media revolution that resulted from cable and satellite technologies transformed the speed of information. In fact, globalization has been developing for some time, certainly since the end of World War II, but its effects were in many ways hidden by the Cold War and its apparent division of the globe into East and West, a world that seemed hemmed in by curtains and walls. Of course, historians are aware that globalization is not wholly new and has deep roots, that the exploration of the globe since ancient times, and the expansion of Europe through conquest and trade since the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, has anticipated some (though not all) of our contemporary experiences.
New, however, is the speed with which the world's peoples can now be in touch with one another; so is the fact that this experience is now reaching all levels of society. As a result of this democratizing of global awareness and connection, it is now possible to think of our world as the coherent planet the first moon walkers described in 1969. It is in this sense of the term “globalization” that the essays that make up the last part of the book should be understood. I am not arguing that globalization is entirely new or entirely a good thing. Rather, I believe that it has