Examine different sociological views of changes in the experience of childhood over the past 50 years.
Over the past 50 years sociologists have looked at how the idea of childhood has changed and adapted. Pilcher looked at the idea of “separateness” and what had led to it. Only just in more recent years children have been looked upon as physically and psychologically immature and in need of nurturing and socialisation. Pilcher argues that children have only started to be seen as vulnerable and innocent recently when laws started defining what they can and cannot do. Also now that we are in the “golden age” of innocence and vulnerability adults have then decided children need more protection from the adult world. This could be identified as a major change in childhood as in the olden days children would have just of been seen as mini adults.
Also because the relationships between parents and their children have changed, the idea of children needing more protection and care has emerged. Because parents are having less children they are spending more time with their kids and focus on them a lot more. Of course then because of social policies, the parents started to get more concerned about their children. The family now days are based around the children as they are the main focus in the family.
The question now is, has the position of children improved? There is a march of progress view that suggests their position has improved as children are the main focus of the family. They also say that neglect and abuse is becoming less common than it was in the past and children now have more rights and better lives. This is a sort of functionalist view. Then there is the conflict view where they say there are still inequalities between children because of factors like gender, wealth, nationality and class. This is a sort of Marxist/Feminist view, as they believe because not all children have the same opportunities their positions have still not all improved. Diane Gittens could support the inequalities theory as she believes in age patriarchy. Gittens says that children are the last group on society that are powerless as their parents have complete control over the. For example what they wear and what they do with their time. She argues this makes the position of children worse even in the “century of the children” as they have been made dependant on adults to do anything. She also argues this a recent thing as 40 years ago 80% of kids walked to school alone between the ages of 7-8. But now only 9% do because adults have become more protective of their children.
Sue palmer argues that today children