James, Jenks and Prout (1998) argue that childhood is characterised by sets of cultural values whereby the ‘…western childhood has become a period of social dependency, asexuality, and the obligation to be happy, with children having the right to protection and training but not to social or personal autonomy’ (James, Jenks and Prouts 1998 pg. 62). Here, childhood is described in sets of distinguished features and these features imply that the concept childhood may vary from place, culture and time. Therefore suggesting that there is no fixed or universal experience of childhood, for example, childhood in the medieval UK will be extremely different to the childhood in modern UK and therefore it varies over time, place and culture. Since the definition and state of childhood may vary depending on our cultural and historical background, some sociologist claim that childhood is not just biological, but must have been socially constructed for a specific society needs at a particular time. In this essay, I will attempt to explore ways in which childhood is said to be socially constructed by looking at historical childhood and how it has led to construction of modern childhood in the modern society. I will also explore the agency of children as competent social actors able to construct their social world.
Having established what I will be discus...
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