The Basic Tenets of the New Sociology of Childhood

2746 Words Apr 19th, 2013 11 Pages
Discuss the basic tenants and evaluate the utility of the new sociology of childhood in gaining a better understanding of young people.

Childhood is the age span ranging from birth to adolescence and its non-specific for it can imply a varying range of years in human development reference. The age ranges anywhere from 12 years to 15years with 18years being most common. Previous research done by sociologists focused on children primarily in terms of socialization and within the context of the family. The ‘new sociology of childhood’ argues that children inhabit more than one world, worlds that may well conflict those of adults, those of children 's own making, and those that children
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The Marxist perspective argues that childhood is socially constructed because the bourgeoisie need a better-educated and skilled work force to cope with complex machines and follow instructions. The family provided food, shelter and clothing and by paying taxes provides education and healthcare for those who will be the next generation of workers. All of this benefited bourgeoisie at all most no expense to them. "The ideology of responsibility of parents ensures that parents make sacrifices to bring up their children. Therefore, the bourgeoisie benefit from the concept of childhood.
Therefore by arguing that childhood is social constructed, the “new sociology of childhood” enables one to understand young people from a different perspective. Such notions of childhood innocence, vulnerability, helplessness, economic dependence among others are scrutinized with regard to broader structural forces. Thus young people even though by virtue of their biological and psychological make-up may be similar across all cultures, what they are expected to do or how they view themselves differ from place to place, situation to situation. For instance even though the United Nations universalize childhood by defining it as, “Childhood is the time for children to be in school and at play, to grow strong and confident with the love and encouragement of their family and an extended community of caring adults” (UNICEF 2005).
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