SOC08013 2017 Sociology of Childhood and Family -JMP
The aim of this module is to undertake a sociological analysis of 'childhood' and 'family' so as to highlight the contingent nature of seemingly ‘natural’ phenomenon. Children and childhood are relatively recent concerns in the discipline of sociology resulting in a burgeoning of studies of how childrens lives are constituted by structural forces and a corresponding growth in studies examining childrens agency. This development is paralleled by cultural shifts in the recognition of children as a social group with sometimes separate interests to those of adults and a claim on rights as articulated in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The module places children’s experiences and views as central to the analysis. Studies of the family have always featured in sociology and there is a growing interest in how people 'perform' family in the twenty-first century. We will examine some of these new directions in sociology.
On completion of this module the learner will/should be able to;
Understand developments in the sociology of childhood with particular reference to the central tenets of the social construction approach to the study of childhood and critiques of this approach.
Examine how structural forces constitute childhood by exploring historical accounts of how childhood is shaped by economic, political and cultural forces, with reference to studies of childhood in Ireland and England.
Assess structure and agency as central tenets in sociology and how the tensions between these are manifest in studies of children's lives and family lives.
Identify a range of research sources and policy instruments which highlight the voice of the child and give visibility to children's agency and their perspectives on their lives.
Critically assess a range of sociological approaches to analysis of the family including functionalist, feminist, Marxist and symbolic interactionism.
Teaching and Learning Strategies
There will be lectures and tutorial discussions which will focus on participation by students so as to develop a critical perspective on childhood and family.
Learning will be based on attendance at lectures, independent research and discussion in tutorial and online groups in light of studies in sociology to date.
Module Assessment Strategies
Assessment requires students to demonstrate an in-depth advanced understanding of sociological perspectives on childhood and the family. As such it will focus on research skills, presentation skills and the capacity to bring an analytic focus to learning. Students will undertake two pieces of assessment: a debate on the tensions between structure and agency in childrens lives(40%) and a group research project in a field of interest pertaining to family or childhood (60%).
An individual research project on a field of interest in sociology of child and family.
Sociology and childhood: outline of sociological approaches- socialisation theory and the 'new' sociology of childhood
Social construction approaches to the study of childhood: discourses of childhood in western societies/implications for childrens lives, historical and cultural variations in the experience of childhood, using Irish and English case studies.
Structure and Agency in childrens lives: revisiting core concepts and applying these to the study of childrens lived experience
Participation discourses in the UNCRC as an example of agency.
Gender discourses and the shaping of childrens lives
Poverty and social class as structural forces in childrens lives
Researching childrens lives: ethical considerations and case study examples
Family change in contemporary society: sociological approaches to diverse family forms
Coursework & Assessment Breakdown
|Title||Type||Form||Percent||Week||Learning Outcomes Assessed|
|1||Debate||Continuous Assessment||Oral Exam||40 %||Week 6||2,3,4|
|2||Final module exam||Project||Group Project||60 %||Week 13||1,5|
Full Time Mode Workload
|Lecture||Lecture Theatre||Teaching and Learning||2||Weekly||2.00|
Required & Recommended Book List
2016 Sociology of Children Childhood and Generation SAGE
Illustrates sociology's distinctive contribution to childhood studies
2008 Key concepts in Childhood Studies SAGE London
Short chapter descriptions of key concepts
2003 Understanding Childhood: An interdisciplinary approach. Wiley
Older publication but excellent coverage of social construction approach to study of chilhood
2009 ongoing In Growing up in Ireland National Longitudinal study of Children. Dept Children :-:- Youth Affairs
First of its kind, a series of longitudinal studies of children in Ireland
2011 Listen to Our Voices hearing children and young people living in the care of the state DCYA Irel
First consultation with children in care of the state reflecting commitment that their vocies are heard
2011 Getting under their skins? Accessing young children perspectives through ethnographic fieldwork Childhood Vol 18 (39)
Example of research approaches to study of childrens everyday lives
2014 Key thinkers in Childhood Studies Policy Press UK
Interviews with researchers and thinkers in early childhood
2005 ). Researching Childrens Experiences: Approaches and Methods. SAGE London
2010 Childrens Perspectives on Parenting Styles and Discipline: A Developmental Approach. DCYA Irel
Insightful study of children's persepctives on parenting etc
2010 Poverty and the Life Cycle in 20th Century Ireland: Changing Experiences of Childhood, Education and the Transition to Adulthood. NUIM/Combat Poverty Agency
Interesting historical account of poverty and education covering three eras
2011 The global and the local: mapping changes in Irish childhood. Eire/Ireland Vol 46(3:-:-4) Winter pp 63-83