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The Sociology of Childhood
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The Sociology of Childhood

Fifth Edition


July 2017 | 504 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

The author is a proud sponsor of the 2020 SAGE Keith Roberts Teaching Innovations Award—enabling graduate students and early career faculty to attend the annual ASA pre-conference teaching and learning workshop.

William A. Corsaro’s groundbreaking text, The Sociology of Childhood, discusses children and childhood from a sociological perspective. Corsaro provides in-depth coverage of the social theories of childhood, the peer cultures and social issues of children and youth, children and childhood within the frameworks of culture and history, and social problems and the future of childhood. The Fifth Edition has been thoroughly updated to incorporate the latest research and the most pertinent information so readers can engage in powerful discussions on a wide array of topics.

 


 
Preface
 
About the Author
 
PART ONE: THE SOCIOLOGICAL STUDY OF CHILDHOOD
 
1. Social Theories of Childhood
Sociology’s Rediscovery of Childhood

 
Traditional Theories: Socialization

 
Interpretive Reproduction: Children Collectively Participate in Society

 
Language and Cultural Routines

 
From Individual Progression to Collective Reproductions

 
Summary

 
 
2. The Structure of Childhood and Children’s Interpretive Reproductions
Assumptions of the Structural Perspective

 
Childhood, Children’s Activities, and Interpretive Reproduction in Peer Culture

 
Summary

 
 
3. Studying Children and Childhood
Macrolevel Methods

 
Microlevel Methods

 
Nontraditional Methods in Studying Children

 
Ethical Issues in Researching Children’s Lives

 
Summary

 
 
PART II. CHILDREN, CHILDHOOD AND FAMILIES IN HISTORICAL AND CULTURAL CONTEXT
 
4. Historical Views of Childhood and Children
Philippe Ariès’s Centuries of Childhood

 
The Debate Regarding Grand-Stage Theories of the Family and Childhood

 
The New History of Childhood

 
Summary

 
 
5. Social Change, Families and Children
Examining Changes in Families From the Children’s Perspective

 
Children’s Everyday Lives in Families

 
The Effects of Recent Socioeconomic Changes on Families, Children, and Childhood in Western Societies

 
The Effects of Recent Socioeconomic Changes on Children and Childhood in Developing Societies

 
Summary

 
 
PART III. CHILDREN'S CULTURES
 
6. Children’s Peer Cultures and Interpretive Reproduction
Examining Peer Culture from Children’s Perspective

 
Central Importance of Peer Culture in Interpretive Reproduction

 
Symbolic Aspects of Children's Cultures

 
Material Aspects of Children’s Cultures

 
Children, Parents, and Consumer Culture

 
Summary

 
 
7. Sharing and Control in Initial Peer Cultures
Central Themes in Children’s Initial Peer Cultures

 
Friendship, Sharing, and Social Participation

 
Autonomy and Control in Peer Culture

 
Summary

 
 
8. Conflict and Differentiation in the Initial Peer Culture
Conflict and Peer Relations

 
Social Differentiation in Initial Peer Cultures

 
Summary

 
 
9. Pre-Adolescent Peer Cultures
Peer Cultures in Preadolescence

 
Friendship Processes in Preadolescent Peer Cultures

 
Autonomy and Identity in Preadolescent Peer Cultures

 
Disputes, Conflict, Friendships, and Gender

 
Generation M: Electronic Media in the Lives of Preadolescents and Adolescents

 
Effects and Process of Media Use in the Lives of Preadolescents and Adolescents

 
Summary

 
 
PART IV. CHILDREN, SOCIAL PROBLEMS, AND THE FUTURE OF CHILDHOOD
 
10. Children, Social Problems, and the Family
Changing Family Structures and Children's Lives

 
Work, Families, and Childhood

 
Divorce and Its Effects on Children

 
Child Abuse in the Family

 
Summary

 
 
11. Children, Social Problems and Society
Poverty and the Quality of Children’s Lives

 
Teen Pregnancy and Nonmarital Births

 
Violence, Victimization, and the Loss of Childhood

 
The Profound and Inspiring Resilience of Children and Youth in Highly Challenging Life Circumstances

 
Summary

 
 
12. The Future of Childhood
The Major Challenges

 
Some More Modest Proposals to Enrich Children’s Lives

 
Conclusion

 
 
Glossary
 
References
 
Index

“I like the fact that this text makes an in-depth examination of the socially-constructed nature of childhood, and illustrates how this phase of the life course has been defined differently in different time periods, which has impacted the expectations for, responsibilities of, communications with, and valuing of children during different time periods.”

Jan Buhrman
Illinois College
Key features
NEW TO THIS EDITION:
  • The new edition has been thoroughly updated to reflect the recent explosion of research in the field. New or expanded coverage includes:
  • Methods for studying youths as well as debates about ethics in research on children
  • Children's everyday lives in families in western and non-western societies
  • Sharing and control in initial peer cultures, especially related to children's language and improvised play
  • Preadolescent peer culture related to sport
  • The 2016 election and possible impacts on federal policies to improve the lives of families and children
  • Children's symbolic culture and material culture
  • Children, parents, and consumer culture 
  • Aggression and bullying
  • Electronic media in the lives of preadolescents and adolescents
  • Changes in the racial and ethnic diversity of the children's population in the U.S.
  • Three new breakout sections have been added:
  • Children’s Resilience in Illness, Abuse, Disasters, and Wars
  • Children, the Environment, and Sustainability
  • Collective Identity, Intergenerational Relations, and Civic Society
  • The latest data for a wide range of social indicators has been incorporated, including: family leave, childcare, early education, divorce and child abuse, poverty in industrial and developing societies, teen pregnancy and non-marital births in a comparative perspective, and violence against children.
KEY FEATURES: 

  • Focuses on children's relationships with peers and adults, including coverage of children's peer cultures from preschool through pre-adolescence.
  • Presents an interpretive perspective on the sociology of childhood which contrasts the more traditional socialization or outcome approaches.
  • Includes section on children’s rights, including a description and discussion of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
  • Addresses current policy debates and changing demographics related to children in today’s societies.
  • Contains numerous examples of children’s actual play and behavior.
  • Provides new photographs and charts that capture the complexity and diversity of children’s lives.

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 7

Chapter 11


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