Childhood Studies by Mary Jane Kehily

By Mary Jane Kehily

This introductory textbook brings jointly key subject matters within the region of adolescence reports to supply an creation to scholars and practitioners operating during this box. Written by means of specialists from throughout quite a number disciplines, each one bankruptcy deals a broad-based and available perception into early life and analyzes new methods of learning and theorizing approximately youngsters and youth. For undergraduate and postgraduate scholars of early life reports, schooling, and social sciences.

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While it cannot be denied that children have always tended to have emotional importance to parents, the exact nature and content of that emotional importance cannot be seen as universal. In this way, childhood also must be seen to have and convey different meanings at different times and in different social situations. One way in which we can get some idea of changing meanings ascribed to childhood over time is, as Ariès made clear, through representation. From the sixteenth century onward, child portraits became increasingly popular among the wealthy; these represented, for the first time, and in a stylized form, historically specific children.

How can we possibly know? Ariès and representation Philippe Ariès, a social historian, first drew attention to the idea that childhood is socially and historically constructed, not biologically given or fundamentally ‘natural’. He argued that attitudes to children have changed over time, and with these changing attitudes a new concept developed: childhood. He claimed that in the Middle Ages children mixed freely with adults, and although adults were not indifferent to children, they were less concerned with their development and well-being than has been, arguably, the case in modern European society.

Somebody is making them, and somebody is looking at them. They have a continued existence in reality as objects of exchange; they have a genesis in material production. They are more “real” than the reality they are said to represent or reflect’ (Kappeler 1986: 3). We in the twenty-first century are so inundated with and totally used to images wherever we go and wherever we turn that it is hard to remember that the proliferation of imagery is a historical development, and a very recent one at that: photography, cinema, videos, television, advertising are all historically very recent and as a result the impact of one single image is arguably much less than it would have been in the past.

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