Childhood A Historical Dimension

May 19th, 2015
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Biologically, we are all young once and, with the passage of time, we will all become old - but the simple empirical statement of these facts hides a much wider and more-complex set of ideas. Whilst we are experiencing, have experienced or will experience these biological categories (or "phases") in our physical development, two basic points are clear.

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A. Introduction.1. Biologically, we are all young once and, with the passage of time, we will all become old - but the simple empirical statement of these facts hides a much wider and more-complex set of ideas.Whilst we are experiencing, have experienced or will experience these biological categories (or "phases") in our physical development, two basic points are clear:a. There is not a precise definition of concepts like "childhood".b. The social significance of such concepts changes in relation to the social context in which they are created and applied.2. Mannheim ("Essays In The Sociology Of Knowledge", 1952), notes:"The sociological phenomenon of generations is ultimately based on the biological rhythm of birth and death".The biological fact of human physical development is a significant factor in our understanding of the way labels are created on the basis of categories such as age.To understand the concept sociologically we must examine not just the categories themselves (child, youth, adult, etc.), but also the social significance that people attribute to differences based around the concept of age.3. Because historically and comparatively societies attribute different ideas to similar human forms of human development we need to explore the nature of the process whereby categorizations, interpretations and attributions are socially constructed.In this respect, we could note that our society now categorises biological development in terms of suc

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