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Childhood studies have greatly increased our understanding of childhood by showing how it is not simply a biological stage. Childhood is also socially constructed as sets of beliefs and behaviours about what children and child–adult relations are or ought to be like, with many complex varieties of constructed childhoods in different times and places. This entry examines babies’ status as social beings, psychoanalytic and psychological perspectives on babies’ social status, and babies’ active role as social constructors.

Babies as Social Beings

The social construction of the baby might not seem possible if babies are simply biological, presocial beings, perhaps the same anywhere and in any culture? Social constructions involving hermeneutics (interpretations) include adults and children constructing, reinforcing, or resisting their roles in dyads, such as provider adult ...

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