A History of the Sociology of Childhood

Paper: 978 1 78277 021 3 / $18.95
Published: November 2013  

Publisher: UCL IOE Press
64 pp., 6 1/8" x 9 1/5"
This concise book gives a history of how the sociology of childhood has developed, contextualized in the history of sociology. It draws on the author’s own experiences, considers a wide range of published documents and includes contributions on specific topics by some of the main players in the field: Jens Qvortrup, Priscilla Alderson, Liesbeth de Block and Virginia Morrow.

A History of the Sociology of Childhood describes how this relatively new discipline evolved and considers its principal propositions. It looks back to the post-war period, notably in the US, and shows how sociological ideas about childhood arose from developmental psychology; how they began to be formulated to act in complement to psychological ideas and how some US psychologists began to explore variations in ideas about childhood in varying societies. It also explores the history of sociological ideas about childhood in both the UK and, most importantly, mainstream Europe and considers links between sociological and rights agendas. This book concludes with consideration of the latest developments in this field such as globalization and media studies; work in other languages, such as French and Portuguese and gives an account of work emerging in the majority world and its relevance for theoretical developments.

It is essential reading for university students on all varieties of childhood courses. It contextualizes this field
within theory and provides a clear picture of the constituents of the discipline. It is also relevant to those working within psychological paradigms but with an interest in considering alternative and complementary approaches.

Table of Contents:
Section 1. The importance of developmental psychology in shaping childhoods
Section 2. Precursors of sociological approaches to childhood – especially in the USA
Section 3. Sociological approaches to childhood in the UK – early days
Section 4. Childhood sociology in (other) north European countries
Section 5. Current UK work on the sociology of childhood
Section 6. Other recent developments
Concluding discussion

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Reviews & Endorsements:
"Berry Mayall’s history of the sociology of childhood offers succinct and enlightening insights on the flow, movement, and interaction of ideas that have combined to form this still-growing field of scholarship. It is a resource for students and scholars alike interested in the study of children and their childhoods."

- Daniel Thomas Cook, Co-editor, Childhood: A Journal of Global Child Research and Professor , Rutgers University
“A ‘must-read’ for any serious scholar engaging with childhood studies.”
- Jo Moran-Ellis , University of Surrey