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The Sociology of Childhood

4. Inequality and the Universality of Childhood

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About this Lecture

Lecture

In this lecture, we think about the idea that childhood is universal (i.e. a feature of all human societies both past and present) and the extent to which inequalities organise and structure childhood and children's experiences, focusing in particular on: (i) the view among some academics and theorists that childhood is socially constructed and not a universal category, and the extent to which this is a plausible position; (ii) the difficulty of coming up with a clear definition of 'childhood' – does (e.g.) a seventeen-year-old really belong in the same category of person as (e.g.) a two-year-old?; (iii) the intersectionality of childhood with other identities, e.g. gender, race, nationality, citizenship-status, etc. and the extent to which this shapes one's experience of childhood; (iv) the extent to which inequalities produce one's identity; (v) the positive aspects of inequality – the production of a sense of community, creativity and culture; and (vi) the belief within children's studies of the multiplicity of potential childhood experiences.

Course

In this course, Professor Karen Wells (Birkbeck, University of London) explores the sociology of childhood. In the first lecture, we think about the idea is childhood is socially constructed. In the second lecture, we consider the idea that children have agency. In the third lecture, we think about child rights and the emergence of a 'child rights regime'. Next, we think about the inequalities that shape childhood. In the fifth lecture, we think about different theories of identity emerging from psychology and childhood studies. In the sixth lecture, we turn to think about school and work as domains of childhood. In the seventh and final lecture, we think about the juvenile justice system.

Lecturer

Professor Karen Wells is Professor of Human Geography at Birkbeck, University of London. Her research is focused on childhood studies, particularly the formation of childhood and the impact of inequality on children’s lives. She is author of The Visual Cultures of Childhood (2020), Childhood Studies: Making Young Subjects (2017), and Childhood in Global Perspective (2014).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Wells, K. (2021, August 23). The Sociology of Childhood - Inequality and the Universality of Childhood [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/the-sociology-of-childhood/inequality-and-the-universality-of-childhood

MLA style

Wells, K. "The Sociology of Childhood – Inequality and the Universality of Childhood." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 23 Aug 2021, https://www.massolit.io/courses/the-sociology-of-childhood/inequality-and-the-universality-of-childhood

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