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 social and cultural construction of sexual difference.
While it is commonplace to talk about children as if there were a homogeneous group who share a whole range of common characteristics, paradoxically it is also the case that distinguishing between boy children and girl children is a key feature of everyday social practices in most societies. At the moment of birth, biological sex differences are noted and ascriptions of the child as male or female follow. The way in which such maleness and femaleness are understood and experienced constitutes ‘gender’ in society.[Page 60]
This distinction between sex and gender reflects a key debate in childhood studies: the nature vs. nurture debate. In this case, the question is raised as to whether biology accounts for the marked differences ...