A History of Childhood: Children and Childhood in the West from Medieval to Modern Times / Edition 1

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Overview

In this lively and accessible book, Colin Heywood explores the changing experiences and perceptions of childhood from the early Middle Ages to the beginning of the twentieth century. Heywood examines the different ways in which people have thought about childhood as a stage of life, the relationships of children with their families and peers, and the experiences of young people at work, in school and at the hands of various welfare institutions. The aim is to place the history of children and childhood firmly in its social and cultural context, without losing sight of the many individual experiences that have come down to us in diaries, autobiographies and oral testimonies.

Heywood argues that there is a cruel paradox at the heart of childhood in the past. On the one hand, material conditions for children have generally improved in the West, however belatedly and unevenly, and they are now more valued than in the past. On the other hand, the business of preparing for adulthood has become more complicated in urban and industrial societies, as the young face a bewildering array of choices and expectations.

A History of Childhood will be an essential introduction to the subject for students of history, the social sciences and cultural studies.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'...Colin Heywood's A History of Childhood is an interestingaddition to the growing literature on children.' Children'sGeographies

'...A History of Childhood represents a fine achievementand undoubtedly deserves a wide audience. It is an accessible textthat is far more than the sum of its parts. This book is to bestrongly recommended to anyone with an interest in the history ofchildhood.' Children's Geographies

'Even-handed, accurate and well-crafted, this admirable surveystrikes the right balance: simple enough for a first-year student,sophisticated enough to do justice to the material.' Roy Porter,Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine

'A rich and timely account of a subject too long over-simplifiedby artificial chronologies and generalizations neglectful ofeconomic and cultural diversities. The infinite diversity ofexperience from the birthing process to the grave, the trials andjoys of parenting, changing concepts of what is appropriate andmorally fitting are here set in context. The child at school, thechild at work, the child as target of parental, church and stateconcern as well as the child at play and the child making sense ofthe world about him are all present in these pages.' ProfessorOlwen Hufton, Merton College, Oxford

"This book is an invaluable addition to students on childhoodstudies, play, youth work and early years courses who wish toground their concept of childhood in an historical analysis of thetopic." Keith Cranwell, Thurrock College

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780745617329
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 12/28/2001
  • Series: Themes in History Series, #1
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 553,058
  • Product dimensions: 6.04 (w) x 9.02 (h) x 0.62 (d)

Meet the Author

Colin Heywood is Senior Lecturer in Economic and Social History, University of Nottingham.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements.

Introduction.

Part I: Changing Conceptions of Childhood.

Conceptions of childhood in the Middle Ages.

The quest for a turning point.

Some themes in the cultural history of childhood.

Part II: Growing Up: Relations with Parents andPeers.

Parent-child relations: the first stages.

Caring for Infants?.

Parent-child relations during the second phase of childhood (c.2 to 7 years).

Relations with parents and the peer group during the third phaseof childhood (7 to 12 or 14).

Part III: Children in a Wider World.

Children at Work.

Investing in the Future.

Conclusion.

Notes.

Select Bibliography.

Index

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