Discourses in Childhood

1544 Words Sep 21st, 2007 7 Pages
What is a discourse? Describe two competing discourses of childhood and suggest the ways that they can have an impact on children's lives.

The concept of discourse is the key to understanding a social constructionist approach to childhood. A discourse is an independent set of interrelated ideas held by a particular ideology or worldview. The social constructionist approach tries to describe the different ways in which knowledge of children and childhoods are constructed.

Different discourses of childhood have different ideas of childhood which has different implications on the way in which children are treated. Within the social constructionist theory there are 3 main discourses - romantic, puritan and tabula rasa. This essay will look
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However in a scene where Lester thinks his fantasy of Angela is about to come true, Angela reveals that she innocent in her knowledge of sexual matters, reminding viewers that she is still a child in need of protection. This film clip began as depicting an amoral, sinful, 'knowing' young girl in line with the puritan discourse and ends by depicting children as people in need of protection and who are innocent, and as childhood as a time which adults should be protecting the child from anything that will shatter the child's innocence. In a sense, the end of the clip depicts the adult's job as to be the hero, saving the child from 'evil' much the same as the man in the Peugeot advert mentioned earlier.

These discourses affect our views of children which in turn affects how children are thought of and therefore treated. In adopting a Romantic view, you will see children as innocence which in the 2 media clips, was associatedwith vulnerability and purity. According to Rousseau, children should be protected from the adult world, and everything should be done to make their childhood a happy carefree time. As already seen though through the 2 film clips, the Puritan discourse treats children as being unruly and in need of control. They are treated as being responsible

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