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The institutionalization of childhood refers to the evolution, expansion, and differentiation of organizations that are attributed to the societal function of education in modern society, with special regard to the impact of these processes on children and their lifeworld, as well as on the discursive construction of childhood. Though the institutionalization of childhood plays a significant role in the social construction of childhood, the question of whether childhood itself can be conceived of as an institution is a distinct one. To do so, one must adopt a broader and more abstract sociological understanding of institutions as normative structures or societal rules of the game. This entry examines how schooling has contributed to the institutionalization of childhood, discusses how other institutions and governmental structures that have ...

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