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Book

Anthropological and Sociological Perspectives on the Study of Children

During the last fifteen years the social study of children has undergone a fundamental change of perspective. Sometimes called the ‘new sociology’ or ‘new social studies’ of childhood, this new perspective accords children conceptual autonomy, looking at them as the direct and primary unit of study. It focuses on children as social actors in their present lives and it examines the ways in which they influence their social circumstances as well as the ways in which they are influenced by them. It sees children as making meaning in social life through their interactions with other children as well as with adults. Finally, childhood is seen as part of society not prior to it and it is subject to the same type of influences that shape other social phenomena. In this chapter we explore this perspective, examining why it came about, how social scientific ideas about children are embedded in wider ...

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