10.03.16 - Lecture - Early Constructions of the Child and Childhood

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Early Constructions of the Child and Childhood* Some MethodologiesQuantitative DataDominant approaches tell us as much about the HISTORY of representing children as they do about the ACTUAL contemporary and historical issues affecting children around the globe. Advantages:It appears to give the impression of concrete factIt can use mathematics to summarise patterns or trendsIt can provide a relatively sound basis for generalising about large populations DisadvantagesThe uncertain validity of some of the findings Data is not concreteData is the outcome of a process of production that involves a variety of decisions about how phenomena are to be identified and measured These decisions may affect the reliability of the study Qualitative DataConsists of words rather than numbersDeals with descriptionsData can be observed but not measuredQualitative = qualityIt can take a variety of forms: visual,textual, electronic, paper-based documents; field notes; audio- and video-recordings;transcriptions of these recordings. AdvantagesResearchers can check the validity of their descriptions and interpretations by comparing data of different types relating to the same case DisadvantagesIt must be analyzedIt too is the outcome of a production process and involves various threats to validity For example, where studies rely on interview data, there is the problem that what people tell us may not be entirely accurate, and can even sometimes be misleading
Difficult for qualitative researchers to generalise from a sample to an entire population* What is the Medieval Child?* Two Romantic Models of Childhood* Hendrick’s Constructions of ChildhoodChange of Focus in Socialization Theory:Focus on “being and becoming.”Examining the agency of the child in the livedmoment of childhood. There should be a connection between theory and lived experience…Dominant approaches tell us as much about the HISTORY of representing children as they do about the ACTUAL contemporary and historical issues affecting children around the globe. Philippe Aries on childhood:“Medieval art until about the twelfth century did not know childhood or did not attemptto portray it... It seems....that there was no place for childhood in the medieval world” (33).

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