Archive for December, 2012

Childhood Studies, OUTLINE

December 7, 2012

Childhood Studies

Notes by Diane Carr, Institute of Education, University of London for the Foundation Degree Childhood Studies course.  Material specific to the IOE (eg. library, academic and student support and assignment information) is omitted from these notes. PPTs and notes on the reading is on the VLE.

Module description: During this module students will be introduced to the field of Childhood Studies. The module is in three parts. Throughout the course, through discussions, tutorials, exercises, presentations and assignments, students will explore the connections between these topics, their practice, and their workplace.

10 weeks. Morning sessions: 10 x 2.5 hour sessions (45 – 60 mins teaching and discussion followed by 90 mins of group work, exercises and discussion). Afternoon sessions: 90 min tutorials

Course schedule, content and reading lists

SET READING: Read this before class because this is what we’ll be discussing. Additional resources  are suggested in the comments section for each session.

Part 1: Introduction to Childhood Studies. Introducing childhood studies and ideas of social construction, structure and agency. We’ll use and revisit these concepts throughout the course.

Part 2 : Children with problems // Children as problem. Normal, different, difficult or special?  Where do classifications like this come from, how are they used, and what does it mean to get labelled?

Part 3: Childhood under threat. What does it mean to declare that childhood itself is under threat – or even dead? If childhood is dead, who killed it? During part 3 of the course we round up the usual suspects (including the media, new technology, consumerism and sexualisation) and take a closer look at the evidence.

10  sessions

Part 1: Introduction to Childhood Studies
Week 1. What is Childhood Studies? Key concepts
Week 2. Childhood as a ‘social construction’, looking at structure and agency
Week 3. Doing boy / doing girl’ – further exploring the above ideas with a focus on gender

Part 2: Children with problems // Children as problem
Week 4. Child development and Childhood Studies
Week 5. Bullies and bullying
Week 6. Hoodies, brats and little angels
Week 7. Difference and disability

Part 3: Childhood ‘under threat’
Week 8. Consumer culture
Week 9. Media and new technology
Week 10. Course revision plus Childhood on film


CS week 1

December 7, 2012

Week 1: What is Childhood Studies?  What is Childhood Studies and where did it come from?  What is ‘childhood’ anyway? During this session we will introduce the course, look at some and explore what it might mean to study childhood.

Set reading:
James and James (2004) ‘Childhood and the Child’, in Constructing Childhood. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Pages 10 – 28

Frosh, S., Phoenix, A., and Pattman, R. (2003) ‘The Trouble with Boys’, in The Psychologist, 16 (2) Pages 84-87.

Thorne, B. (2009) ‘”Childhood”: Changing and Dissonant Meanings’ in International Journal of Learning and Media, Vol. 1, No. 1 Pp 19 – 27

Additional resources, see comments this post.

CS week 2

December 7, 2012

Week 2: Childhood as a ‘social construction’. One way to start thinking about childhood as a ‘social construction’ is to consider how childhood as an idea has changed over time and in different places– and to think about the various forces that have contributed to these changes. During this session we will look at the concepts of social construction, agency and structure.

Set reading:

Wells, K. (2009) ‘Childhood in a global context’ in Childhood in a Global Perspective, Cambridge: Polity, 2009. (Extract from Chapter 1), Pages 1 – 18 inclusive

Reay, D and Wiliam, D. (1999) ‘I’ll be a nothing: Structure, Agency and the Construction of Identity through assessment’ in British Educational Research Journal vol 25 no 3, Pages 343-354 Accessed Oct 2011

CS week 3

December 7, 2012

Week 3: ‘Doing boy / doing girl’ – Researching gender

Exploring the ideas of childhood, cultural contexts and social construction further, while looking at a particular aspect of identity: gender.

Set reading

Fine, C. (2011) ‘The Self-Socialising Child’ in Delusions of Gender: The Real Science Behind Sex Differences. London: Icon Books Ltd., Pages 226-232

Frosh, S, Phoenix, A., and Pattman, R. (2002) ‘Boys Talk’, chapter 1 in Young Masculinities Basingstoke: Palgrave Pages 22-49

Reay, D. (2006) ‘‘Spice Girls’, ‘nice girls’, ‘girlies’, and ‘tomboys’ : gender discourses, girls’ cultures and femininities in the primary classroom’ in Arnot, M., Mac an Ghaill, M. (eds.) (2006) The RoutledgeFalmer Reader in Gender and Education. London: Routledge. Pages 117-130

CS week 4

December 7, 2012

Week 4: Child development and Childhood Studies

Looking at contrasting approaches to the study of children and childhood. In particular, we consider sociological and psychological approaches to classifications such as ‘normal’.

Set reading:

Taylor, C. (2004) ‘Underpinning knowledge for child care practice: reconsidering child development theory’ Child and Family Social Work, Vol 9, Issue 3 Pages 225-235, Accessed Oct 2011

Woodhead, M. (1999) ‘Reconstructing Developmental Psychology – Some First Steps’ in Children and Society, Vol 13 Pages 3-19

CS week 5

December 7, 2012

Week 5: Bullies and bullying

Building on the contrasting perspectives introduced last week, while looking at the issue of bullying. We look at changing definitions and attitudes towards bullying, and consider how ideas about bullying intersect with expectations about gender. How difficult is it to distinguish between conflict, ‘rough play’ and bullying? What does it mean to use the label ‘bully’?

Guest speaker: In the second half of this morning’s session Jessica Ringrose will be visiting to speak about her research.

Set reading:

Phoenix, A., Frosh, S. and Pattman, R, (2003), ‘Producing contradictory masculine subject positions: narratives of threat, homophobia and bullying in 11-14 year old boys’, Journal of Social Issues 59 (1) Pages 179-195

Juvonen, J. and Graham, S. (2004) Research Based Interventions on Bullying, in Bullying, Implications for the Classroom. London: Elsevier Academic Press. Pages 229-251.

Walker, G. (2008) ‘Bullying Widespread: A Critical Analysis of Research and Public Discourse on Bullying’ in Journal of School Violence, Vol 4, No 1, Pages 91-118, acessed Oct 2011,

CS week 6

December 7, 2012

Week 6: Hoodies, brats and little angels

Images of children as vulnerable (subject to harm, requiring protection) are commonplace. Just as common, however, is the image of the child as perpetrator – as somebody that ‘we’ need to be protected from. Looking at the ways in which these discourses connect with notions of value, gender, class and race, and how these ideas can impact on policy and shape children’s experience.

Set reading:

Brown, R.K. (2009), ‘Childhood as Problems, Problems of Childhood’ in Qvortrup, J., Corsaro, W.A. and Honig, M-S. (eds) The Palgrave Handbook of Childhood Studies. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Pages

Robinson, J. (2010) The social construction of deviant identities: the devil wears a hoodie, in Key Issues in Childhood and Youth Studies. D. Kassem, L.Murphy and E.Taylor (eds). London: Routledge. Pages 125-135

CS week 7

December 7, 2012

Week 7: Difference and disability

Look at the idea that disability is a social construction, and consider the extent to which classifications such as disabled are reliant on the idea of ‘normal’ or able. This will involve contrasting medical and developmental perspectives on disability with sociological perspectives on disability drawn from Disability Studies and Deaf Studies.

In the second half of this morning’s session, Barbara Cole will be visiting the class to speak about her research into disability and SEN. Dr Cole’s profile is at

Set reading:

French, S. (1993) ‘‘Can you see the rainbow?’ The roots of denial’ in Disabling Barriers – Enabling Environments. J.Swain, S.French, C.Barnes, C.Thomas (eds) London: Sage. Pages 81-86

Lyons, A. (1993) ‘ A Parent’s Perspective on Integration’ in Is There a Desk with My Name on It? The Politics of Integration. R. Slee (ed.) London: Falmer Press. Pages 249- 251

CS week 8

December 7, 2012

Week 8: Consumer culture and childhood

Wading into the tangled issues of childhood and consumer culture, we look at the various ways that ‘childhood’ might be used in advertising,  child audiences, and the idea of the child as consumer.

Set reading:
Buckingham, D. (2000), ‘Changing Paradigms’, Chapter 6 of After the Death of Childhood, Oxford: Blackwell Pages 103-120

Buckingham, D. (2011) ‘Consuming to learn, learning to consume – Education goes to market’, Chapter 11 in The Material Child Cambridge: Polity. Pages 204-224

CS week 9

December 7, 2012

Week 9Media, new technology and childhood

Looking at the conflicts, assumptions, controversies and assertions that run through popular debate (and scholarly research) on the controversial topic of children’s relationship to media and new technology.

Set reading:
Grugeon, E. (2004) ‘From Pokemon to Potter: Trainee Teachers Explore Children’s Media-Related Play, 2000-2003’ chapter 6, in Toys, Games and Media. J.Goldstein, D.Buckingham and G.Brougere (eds). London: Lawrence Erlbaum Assoc. Publishers, Pages 73-89

Seiter, E. (2004) ‘Children reporting Online: The Cultural Politics of the Computer Lab’ Television and New Media vol 5 no 2, Pages 87-107, Accessed Nov 2011,