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The model of the "social structural child" sees the childhood as a social system comparable to the other social categories. Though, the childhood system is different from the others and even marginalized, fact well pointed out in the "minority group child" model. The model of the "tribal child" is more concentrated on the children's world, which is considered to have its own separate culture. The "socially constructed child" model is an alternative to the others, more flexible because of the continuous process of construction and development, according to the different social contexts in time and the relations between them.
James, Jenks and Prout (1998), treat the subject of the childhood socialization with different views, the past, present and the future theories.In the first section of the book they treat the theoretical and historical childhood studies, based, beside sociology, on the psychological and philosophical contexts.
In the final section of the book, they identify four themes of childhood theory, keeping the remained questions of the future, regarding the relations between structure and agency, local and global, identity and difference, and continuity and change. These approaches, seen on the figure two from the page 206, reveal the different models of childhood and the relations between them in creating a new concept, but they also reveal their differences. That is why a multitude of interpretations are likely to be made out of it, making the need for more research in the field necessary. (James, Jenks and Prout, 1998).
Re-theorizing childhood as part of the social world is a very complex process, which gathers together all the theories from the past in starting a new, but more difficult responsibility, the one of finding the wrong ways taken before and learning from these mistakes by conceiving a new-born view over the children.
In Ashe and others (1999), the authors take a conceptual examination of the present theories, naming the chapters in relation with different themes like: "power," "the subject," "the body" etc. In each chapter, they deal with the relative subject from the perspective of the most important transformations of the concept and the debates regarding it.
Children as a group are treated like a minority because of the way power is distributed. The social institutions are empowered by the government with the right of having control over children. As the institutions are ruled by adults and thus they have all the power over the children, their position is seen as insignificant. Another point-of-view of this subject is the law, according to which the adults are responsible for the actions of their children. In contradiction, children are considered as irresponsible, so an adult can always make use of his earned power over a child. This authority adults have over children, expressed by the power, is stopped many times by the children's resistance, which limits this power in favor of the children. On page 85, there is a reference to "the on-going guerilla warfare of family life," which is a symbol of this every day fight to obtain a little more power in the parent/children relationship.(MacKenzie, pp. 69-87, 1999).
Other idea about power is that it can be shifted in a family relation. Men have their power given by patriarchy, but women can act against this power (usually by refusing to have sex). In other modern families, they can give each other responsibilities, but they can always refuse to do some tasks that are not according to their wishes. (Ashe, pp.88-110, 1999).
The body is considered to be an essential way of using the power. Body language has become a subject of study, being integrated into day by day life and social relations. The power exerted through body action is the central expression of the abuse. (Lloyd, pp. 111-130, 1999).
As a conclusion, Cannella's words are summarizing all the above said: "Older human beings...will decide for young people exactly what life should be like, a practice that has been referred to as imperialism." (Cannella, p. 35, 1997). This is a true existent view of our nowadays childhood concept. Adults, with their way of exerting the power, are controlling the future life of a child. Abuses turn their childhood into a life full of terror, a childhood full of traumas, questions, and fighting for the survival.
A terrorized childhood is a concept which gathers together the different theories elaborated in time about children and their relation with the adult world. The main issue is the way of controlling the power adults have over the children, in the family and outside. Information is vital these days. Without knowledge, children are in a bigger danger that we imagine. The child must get conscientious of his role in the society and his value, and learn how to get over an abuse, in case of not having enough power to stop or to prevent it.
Power is and it will always be, in the adult-child relation, on the adult side, but children have the power inside to change all these prejudices, and not to give up in their natural normal transition to future better adults.
Alanen, Leena (1990). "Rethinking Socialization, the Family and Childhood' in Patricia Adler and Peter Adler (eds), Sociologocial Studies of Child Development, JAI Press Inc., London, 1990,Vol.3, pp.13-28.
Alanen, Leena (12-13 November 2004), Therorizing children's welfare, paper presented at WELLCI Network Workshop 1: New perpectives on childhood, the Centre for Research on Family, Kinship & Childhood, University of Leeds (UK) in Ashe and others (1999). Contemporary Social and Political Theory: An introduction. Buckingham: Open University Press, MacKenzie, Iain.'Power'pp.69-87
Ashe, Fidelma. 'The Subject' pp.88-110.
Lloyd, Moya. 'The Body' pp.111-130.
Cannella, Gaile Sloan (1997), Deconstructing Early Childhood Education, New York, Peter Lang, 224 pp.
James, Jenks & Prout (1998). Theorizing childhood. Cambridge: Polity Press
Kitzinger, J. "Who Are You Kidding? Children, Power, and the Struggle Against Sexual Abuse" in a. James and a. Prout (eds), Constructing and Reconstructing Childhood, the Falmer Press, London, 1997, pp.165-186.…[continue]
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