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.



A child is a human being in the early stages of its life-course, biologically, psychologically and socially; it is a member of a generation referred to collectively by adults as ‘children’, who together temporarily occupy the social space that is created for them by adults and referred to as ‘childhood’.

As Chris Jenks (1996) has argued, we cannot imagine the child except in relation to a conception of the adult and, conversely, it becomes impossible to generate a well-defined sense of the adult, and indeed adult society, without starting with the idea of the child. So what are the distinctive differences between a child and an adult? Children are, in most cases, less well-developed physically than adults: they tend to be shorter, to weigh less, and ...

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