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Boy Scouting emerged in United Kingdom in 1907 and quickly spread around the world, primarily in response to modernization and its effects on the place of teenaged boys in the family and society. This entry examines some of the changes that spurred scouting’s development in the early 20th century. It also examines scouting’s history, its impact, and changing eligibility criteria and popularity over time.

Scouting as a Response to Modernization

In Western Europe and the United States, technological innovations in transportation, factory production, and commerce undercut youth’s traditional job apprenticeship paths and skill development. Rapid urbanization, mass leisure forms such as movies and spectator sports, and accelerating rates of migration resulted in more anonymous communities that seemed to lack older villages’ neighborliness, safety, and leadership by local ...

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