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.



The early part of the life-course; the institutional arrangements that separate children from adults and the structural space created by these arrangements that is occupied by children.

At its simplest, childhood is understood as the early phase of the life-course of all people in all societies. It is characterised by rapid physiological and psychological development and represents the beginning of the process of maturation to adulthood. In this sense, it is common to all children, irrespective of culture. However, as Woodhead (1996) has suggested, these biological ‘facts’ of growth and development are culturally relative; they are interpreted and understood in relation to ideas about children's needs, welfare and best interests, which vary between cultures. Thus, beyond children's basic needs for things such as food and ...

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