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 4: Growing up beside you – social habitus in early childhood
Growing up beside you – social habitus in early childhood
In the last chapter I argued that sociologists of childhood need to move beyond their narrow interpretation of developmental psychology, mainly based around their critique of Piaget’s age and stage approach to young children. They rejected the biological assumptions and deterministic discourse associated with this particular version of developmental psychology, arguing that we need to emphasise children’s agency and social competence. Although young children can negotiate and make choices in their relationships with adults, sociologists have a tendency to underestimate that such competence is relational, learnt largely from adults and historically variable. They therefore tend to overemphasise the extent to which young children are free ...