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Berry Mayall argues in this work that, since childhood is a permanent component of society, in order to understand how society works, we must take account of children as well as adults, otherwise our explanation omits an important social group. Children's lives are shaped by policies and practices, but they are also agents, who make a life for themselves through their relationships with adults and other children. This book argues that feminist theory and practice is useful for understanding childhood; we should start from the children's own accounts to show how the organization of social relations provides an explanation for their social position. This is a political book: through analysis of children's own descriptions and evaluations of childhood, it argues for an improved social status of childhood, including respecting children's rights. The book also shows that in order to understand childhood we must take account of both child-adult relations (generational relations) and gender relations. It is valuable reading for childhood sociologists and feminists, and for all those seeking to raise the social status of childhood. It is highly recommended to students of childhood studies, at all levels.
Berry Mayall is currently Professor of Childhood Studies at the Institute of Education, University of London. She has worked on many research studies on the daily lives of children and their parents; and in the last ten years has focused on children's own accounts, including their understanding of childhood. Her work is widely recognized; and she has been invited to speak and write about it both in the UK and internationally.
Open University Press
Date of Publication
English, Multiple languages
Social Issues, Services & Welfare
UK Higher Education OUP Humanities & Social Sciences Health & Social Welfare