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(Re)construction of the concept of childhood through history and contemporary society


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Mudrinić, Adrijana. (2016). (Re)construction of the concept of childhood through history and contemporary society. Diploma Thesis. Filozofski fakultet u Zagrebu, Chair of Anthropology
Department of Pedagogy. [mentor Pletenac, Tomislav and Šagud, Mirjana].

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The meaning of childhood has constantly been a subject of negotiation and struggle in the media, in schools, in social policy and in interpersonal relationships, among peers and in the family. We can say that childhood is a prolonged period of dependence during which children mature physically and acquire the cultural knowledge necessary to become accepted members of society. The definition of child varies considerably among cultures, and members of each culture hold a unique set of expectations for the roles and behaviors that has to be fulfilled during childhood. Despite this cross-cultural variation, childhood is a category unique to the human species and common to all human societies. The child and the childhood are therefore not natural and universal categories, which are simply determined by biology, nor are they something which has a fixed meaning. On the contrary, the concept of child and childhood are historically, culturally and socially variable. The children were treated very different in different historical periods, in different cultures and in different social groups. They were gradually and sistematically segregated form the world of adults. That includes the attempts to uproot child labour and the introduction of compulsory education, alienating children from factories and moving them from the streets into the schools. Thereby a large number od social institutions is asking to supervise child-rearing and education. At the end of the 20th century the special attention has been dedicated to the child and to the process of childhood itself. The subject of changed childhood has caused a broad public interest and a large number of scientific researchers. The children's lifepaths are changing with different sociocultural situations, and together with it, the childhood is doubtlessly changing too. With institutionalization and with more autonomy the lives of children are being less stable and less safer then they were thirty years ago, and especially two centuries ago. In some areas the boundaries between children and adults have been destroyed, but in some they are being strengthened and extended. Children have been empowered, both politically and economically, but they have also been subjected to increasing adult surveillance and control.

Item Type: Diploma Thesis
Uncontrolled Keywords: child, childhood, culture, society, child development
Subjects: Ethnology and cultural anthropology
Departments: Chair of Anthropology
Department of Pedagogy
Supervisor: Pletenac, Tomislav and Šagud, Mirjana
Date Deposited: 19 Apr 2017 13:51
Last Modified: 19 Apr 2017 13:51

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