The Sociology of Early Childhood is a theoretically and historically grounded examination of young children’s experiences in contemporary society. Arguing that a sociology of early childhood must bring together and integrate different disciplines, this book: • synthesises different sociological perspectives on childhood as well as incorporating multi-disciplinary research findings on the lives of young children • explains key theoretical concepts in early childhood studies such as investment, early intervention, professional power and discourse • examines the importance of play, memory and place • evaluates long term parenting trends • uses illustrative examples and case studies, discussion questions and annotated further reading to engage and stimulate readers. Invigorating and thought provoking, this is an invaluable read for advanced undergraduates and postgraduate students looking for a more nuanced and progressive understanding of childhood.
Chapter 2: Historical and sociological perspectives on childhood
Historical and sociological perspectives on childhood
In an evocative introduction to A Little History of the World, the art historian Ernst Gombrich (2008: 1) strongly conveys to his young readers the long chain of generational relationships. He emphasises the way in which we are all interconnected – we can go further and further back throughout history, tracing a long line of descendants. Behind every ‘once upon a time’, there is always another: ‘Once upon a time there was a small boy – or a small girl …’. Your father and mother were also small once, and so was your grandfather, and your grandmother… But they too had grandfathers and grandmothers, and they too could say: ‘Once upon a time’. ...