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 structure refers to the social institutions and relational components of the social fabric around which societies are organised. These delineate the processes through which social relations are organised and transacted, and from which each society derives its identity.

Understanding and analysing the composition and nature of social structure has been a central element in the development of sociology as a social science discipline, and one that has generated sustained debate and disagreement. The details of this debate are too complex to engage with here but its existence must be acknowledged, as must the fact that there are few agreed definitions of what precisely social structure is and how it is constituted. The definition offered above may well be challenged, therefore, by other sociologists.

What this definition ...

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