A Critical Reflection on Forms of Modern Childhood by New Sociology of Childhood
This article aims to explore the characteristics, management models and growth discourses of modern forms of childhood, and to discuss critiques of modern forms of childhood from the emerging field of childhood sociology, in order to clarify the diverse forms of childhood. Modern forms of childhood are based on age essentialism, and display images of childhood which can be characterized as developmentalism, futurism universalism and privatism. They legitimate the adult-centered social and cultural discourse in which adults are positioned as caregivers and children as demanders. They thus strengthen the social status and dominant power of adults. In the 1980s, the emerging new sociology of childhood pointed out the diversity of childhood in late modernity, proposing four forms: first, the social constructivist view of childhood emphasized how forms of childhood are constructed by the social, political, economic and cultural context; the second emphasized the subjectivity and agency of childhood, stressing that children have the ability to participate in and actively construct the social world; the third form considered children as consisting of independent age groups, each of which can be characterized through their own objective facts, and devoted itself to the investigation of children’s groups. Fourthly, the political form of childhood saw the relationship between children and adults as involving two groups of unequal power, with the feminist sociology of childhood viewing children as a disadvantaged group, rather than one dimension of a biologically continuous relationship with adulthood. The emerging sociology of childhood deconstructed adultism and established childhood research as a genuine field of study. It also tried to establish a liberation project for childhood in the world of daily life, and attempted to transform the system of patriarchal oppression.
|關鍵詞||童年社會學、女性主義童年社會學、社會化、兒童研究、兒童發展、sociology of childhood、feminist sociology of childhood、socialization、childhood studies、child development|