By Sam Frankel (auth.)
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Extra resources for Children, Morality and Society
As James and James suggest, ‘Childhood cannot be regarded as an unproblematic descriptor of a natural biological phase. Rather the idea of childhood must be seen as a particular cultural phrasing of the early part of the life course, historically and politically contingent and subject to change (James and James, 2004: 13). The idea of childhood being culturally sensitive is important, offering the social context within which views of the child must be 40 Children, Morality and Society considered; ‘there is always a relationship between conceptual thought, social action and the process of category construction and, therefore, deﬁnitions of childhood must to some extent be dependent upon the society from which they emerge’ (Hendrick 1997a: 35).
Such a discussion is not complete without the mention of habitus and the body of experiences which Bourdieu (1971) and others recognise as feeding into actions and meanings. The role of habitus, which will be discussed in more detail in Chapter 6, provides another framework 24 Children, Morality and Society within which agency is able to be expressed as children draw from their own social past. It is the uniqueness of this social experience that is important, as for each child a separate set of experiences will shape the unconscious body of data they draw from in deﬁning meaning and action.
However, what this does show 42 Children, Morality and Society is the extent to which notions of childhood change at different times, with these constructions impacting on the way in which children are able to live out their everyday lives. The changing nature of childhood has been the subject of many academic reviews, with this link to time and space demanding the need for the historical contextualisation of childhood (Hendrick 1997a, 1997b; Cunningham 1991, 1995). Such analyses, following in the footsteps of Ariès, pursue childhood as a modern concept, although this temporal setting has been challenged as limiting (Jenks 1996); they do, however, continue to demonstrate the extent to which perceptions of childhood are linked to the political, social and economic realities of the day.
Children, Morality and Society by Sam Frankel (auth.)