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For more than a decade, sociologically oriented childhood research and research on child culture have experienced a dramatic growth within the humanities and the social sciences as well as an increasing prominence at the institutional level.
This book is the meeting place of two closely related fields of research: children’s culture and the history of childhood on the one hand, and the sociology and anthropology of childhood on the other. The two ‘camps’ share a joint methodological view of children as agents in their own lives, environments and even in society at large, yet it is also agreed that their lives and welfare are largely formed by adults and the society in which they live.
Both research areas have been vital for the development of new strands of childhood research which are in many ways characterised by a departure from more conventional approaches, concepts and understandings that have dominated childhood research – and childhood itself – in much of the 20th century.
The articles in this book represent numerous aspects of the two areas of research. In a critical vein, the sociologically and anthropologically oriented contributions cover studies of structural aspects of childhood as well as qualitative studies of children’s everyday life, while the culturally oriented contributions comprise classical studies of children’s culture products, history, media, play culture and symbolic forms of expression. The articles present general differences and divergences in methods and perspectives, but also show what the two types of approach have in common.
Giovanni B. Sgritta
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