Childhood in American Society: A Reader

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This anthology from scholarly literature about children explores the ways society makes meaning of the period called childhood, the social forces that shape children, and the strategies children use to influence each other, their familes, and the larger adult world.

The anthology includes 34 readings in 7 topic areas:

I. Meanings of Childhood

II. Theorizing Childhood

III. Studying Children

IV. Relationships

V. Constructing Race, Ethnicity and Gender

VI. Popular Culture, Consumption and Play

VII. Social Problems and Inequality

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Overall, this reader will provide an excellent, current, thoughtful, and much needed selection of work for courses in the sociology of childhood and interdisciplinary courses in childhood studies.”

Dr. David M. Hummon, Holy Cross College

“It is a strong counterbalance to the endless “developmental” approaches to the study of childhood. There is a real need for this type of book.”

Dr. Nancy Finley, University of Alabama — Huntsville

“I would definitely adopt a book like this. There has been a real need for this type of book for quite some time. The theory in the sociological study of childhood has advanced far beyond the publications appropriate for student texts. I look forward to its publication.”

Dr. Nancy Finley, University of Alabama — Huntsville

“This reader has several strengths. First, it uses the New Sociology of Childhood approach, recognizing children as active agents in their own right. Second, the reader draws heavily from the authors who have forged new ground in sociology of children (Thorne, Corsaro, Prout and James, Fine, and Adlers) and also includes a variety of new authors who are moving that work forward in exciting ways. Third, the organization is sound. It provides both historical and contemporary contexts and theoretical and methodological frameworks; then it covers children’s diversity and ends with some key issues.”

Dr. Sue Marie Wright, Eastern Washington University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780205617135
  • Publisher: Pearson
  • Publication date: 5/19/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 480
  • Sales rank: 912,044
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Karen Sternheimer is a member of the Sociology Department at the University of Southern California. She is also the author of Kids These Days: Facts and Fictions About Today's Youth (Rowman & Littlefield) and It's Not the Media: The Truth About Pop Culture's Influence on Children (Westview Press). Her research on children has explored such diverse topics as kidnapping, substance abuse, obesity, teen pregnancy, and teen driving.

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Table of Contents

General Introduction: What is Childhood?

Part I: Meanings of Childhood

Editor’s Introduction: Why do experiences of childhood change?

1. Viviana A. Zelizer, From Child Labor to Child Work: Redefining the Economic World of Children

2. Marjorie Heins, Minors, Censorship, Sex, and History

3. Paula Fass and Mary Ann Mason, Childhood in America Past and Present

4. Peter N. Stearns, All are Above Average

5. David Buckingham, In Search of the Child

6. Karen Sternheimer, Kidnapped: Childhood Stolen?

Part II: Theorizing Childhood

E ditor’s Introduction: How do social scientists think about children?

7. Barrie Thorne, Re-Visioning Women and Social Change: Where are the Children?

8. William Corsaro, Children’s Interpretive Reproductions

9. Sarah H. Matthews, A Window on the “New” Sociology of Childhood

10. Alan Prout & Allison James, A New Paradigm for the Sociology of Childhood?

Part III: Studying Children

Editor’s Introduction: How do social scientists study children and childhood?

11. Michael Wyness, Researching Children and Childhood

12. Gary Alan Fine & Kent L. Sandstrom, Researchers and Kids

13. William Corsaro, Yeah, You’re Big Bill: Entering Kids’ Culture

Part IV: Relationships

Editor’s Introduction: How do children actively negotiate relationships with friends and family?

14. Patricia A. Adler and Peter Adler, Popularity

15. Murray Milner, Jr., Exchanges, Labels, and Put-Downs

16. Abel Valenzuela, Gender Roles and Settlement Activities Among Children and their Immigrant Families

17. Annette Lareau, Concerted Cultivation and the Accomplishment of Natural Growth

18. Donna Eder, Catherine Colleen Evans & Stephen Parker, Crude Comments and Sexual Scripts

Part V: Constructing Race, Ethnicity and Gender

Editor’s Introduction: Beyond socialization and imitation

19. Debra Van Ausdale & Joe R. Feagin, Using Racial and Ethnic Concepts: The Critical Case of Very Young Children

20. Valerie Ann Moore, The Collaborative Emergence of Race in Children’s Play: A Case of Two Summer Camps

21. Amanda E. Lewis, Constructing and Negotiating Racial Identity in School

22. Michael A. Messner, Barbie Girls Versus Sea Monsters: Children Constructing Gender

23. Barrie Thorne, Constructing “Opposite Sides”

24. Julie Bettie, Girls, Race, and Identity: Border Work between Classes

Part VI: Popular Culture, Consumption and Play

Editor’s Introduction: The importance of play and popular culture

25. Sarah Banet-Weiser, “We Pledge Allegiance to Kids”: Nickelodeon and Citizenship

26. Cindy Dell Clark, Flight Toward Maturity: The Tooth Fairy

27. Viviana Zelizer, Kids and Commerce

28. Christine L. Williams, Kids in Toyland

29. Peter Kelly, David Buckingham and Hannah Davies, Talking Dirty: Children, Sexual Knowledge and Television

30. Hilary Levey, Outside Class: A Historical Analysis of American Children’s Competitive Activities

Part VI: Social Problems and Inequality

Editor’s Introduction: Are young people really as prized in American society as we think?

31. Jenny Kitzinger, Who Are You Kidding? Children, Power, and the Struggle Against Sexual Abuse

32. Cindy Dell Clark, Children Coping with Chronic Illness

33. Nell Bernstein, Children of the Incarcerated

34. Allison James, Chris Jenks, and Alan Prout, Working Children

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