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.

Social Actor

Social actor

A concept that recognises the active part that children can play in everyday social life.

The idea that children should be regarded as social actors received its first strong statement in social science writing during the 1970s. In an anthropological study of children in English playgrounds, Hardman argued that ‘children should be seen as people to be studied in their own right and not just as receptacles of adult teaching’ and that through doing so, researchers would gain rather different perspectives – child perspectives – on the social world (1973: 85). In Hardman's view, earlier research, mainly from within developmental psychology, had failed to acknowledge children as people who might be studied as social actors because the overarching concern was to document children's ...

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