This book has already proved itself as a course adoption leader in Childhood Studies. All of the strengths of the First Edition have been retained. The book is comprehensive and judged with the needs of students in mind. It is a model of clarity and precision and has been acknowledged as such in reviews and course feedback. The new edition thoroughly revises old entries and adds new ones. The book is the most accessible, relevant student introduction to this expanding, interdisciplinary field. It is an indispensable teaching text and an ideal prompt for researchers.

Age and Maturity

Age and maturity

The number of years a person has lived.

Although in contemporary western societies age is commonly regarded as a fundamental aspect of a person's identity and is calculated numerically in terms of the passage of years since birth, this reckoning of time passing is not universal. Neither has it always been regarded as significant. In this sense, age can be regarded as one of the ways in which the passage of time across an individual's life-course is socially constructed. The historian Gillis (1996) argues, for example, that in western Europe it was only in the late 19th century that age became an important marker of social identity within the life-course. Prior to that, a person's chronological age might bear little relationship ...

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