Sociology Index

Sociology of Children and Childhood - Syllabus

Sociology of Children and Childhood

Sociology of Childhood Syllabus - SYA 4930 Dr. Constance L. Shehan, Professor of Sociology.

Course Objectives
1) To become familiar with research that describes changes in the societal definitions of childhood and children’s “place” in society.

2) To become aware of the methodological issues associated with research about children that puts their own perspectives at center stage.

3) To become more familiar with qualitative or interpretive research methods (e.g., ethnographies, case studies, participant observations).
4) To acquire in-depth knowledge about the social, emotional, and economic circumstances of children’s lives today and to learn how to find valid and reliable statistical information about children on an aggregate level.

5) To understand more fully the differences between sociological and psychological perspectives on childhood.
6) To have the opportunity to read original research about children that puts their perspectives rather than adult perspectives at the center of analysis.
7) To become familiar with examples of cultural artifacts created by, for, or with children.

Course Organization:
We begin with an examination of the changing social circumstances of contemporary children’s lives, primarily in the United States. We focus on family and economic changes and give considerable attention to social class differences in children’s life experiences. We next examine traditional and emerging perspectives on childhood socialization. Before reviewing recent research on gender and racial socialization of children, we consider methodological issues involved in studying children. Our next topic is the peer cultures created by children. We end with a brief discussion of fairy tales and legends and children’s interpretations and uses of these cultural products.

Required Texts/Reading Materials:
Corsaro, William (2005). The Sociology of Childhood. Pine Forge Press.
Laureau, Annette (2003) Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race, and Family Life. University of California Press.

SOC 3700 - Sociology of Childhood
Course Description: This course explores the nature of childhood and the development and socialization of children from infancy through adolescence. Through course readings, assignments, and discussions, the course will cover the agencies and social forces that shape children. 
This course will incorporate the new Sociology of Childhood perspective, which rather than assuming that children are passive participants starts from the assumption that children are active participants who both shape and are shaped by their social world.

Course Objectives:
1. Develop an understanding of the history of childhood and the changing societal definitions of childhood and children’s “place” in society. 

2. Become familiar with the various methods of studying children, and the ethical issues involved in studying children. 

3. Learn the major perspectives on childhood and socialization of children. 

4. Familiarise major agencies of socialization, such as family, peers, media, and school, with a special emphasis on peer cultures.

5. Develop an understanding of the larger economic, political, and social forces that affect and influence children. 

6. Come to understand the major social problems confronting children and families. 

7. Consider the possibilities for the future of childhood in the United States and globally.