Synopses & Reviews
In this lively and accessible book, Colin Heywood explores the changing experiences and perceptions of childhood from the early Middle Ages to the beginning of the twentieth century. Heywood examines the different ways in which people have thought about childhood as a stage of life, the relationships of children with their families and peers, and the experiences of young people at work, in school and at the hands of various welfare institutions. The aim is to place the history of children and childhood firmly in its social and cultural context, without losing sight of the many individual experiences that have come down to us in diaries, autobiographies and oral testimonies.
Heywood argues that there is a cruel paradox at the heart of childhood in the past. On the one hand, material conditions for children have generally improved in the West, however belatedly and unevenly, and they are now more valued than in the past. On the other hand, the business of preparing for adulthood has become more complicated in urban and industrial societies, as the young face a bewildering array of choices and expectations.
A History of Childhood will be an essential introduction to the subject for students of history, the social sciences and cultural studies.
'...Colin Heywood's A History of Childhood
is an interesting addition to the growing literature on children.' Children's Geographies
'...A History of Childhood represents a fine achievement and undoubtedly deserves a wide audience. It is an accessible text that is far more than the sum of its parts. This book is to be strongly recommended to anyone with an interest in the history of childhood.' Children's Geographies
'Even-handed, accurate and well-crafted, this admirable survey strikes the right balance: simple enough for a first-year student, sophisticated enough to do justice to the material.' Roy Porter, Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine
'A rich and timely account of a subject too long over-simplified by artificial chronologies and generalizations neglectful of economic and cultural diversities. The infinite diversity of experience from the birthing process to the grave, the trials and joys of parenting, changing concepts of what is appropriate and morally fitting are here set in context. The child at school, the child at work, the child as target of parental, church and state concern as well as the child at play and the child making sense of the world about him are all present in these pages.' Professor Olwen Hufton, Merton College, Oxford
"This book is an invaluable addition to students on childhood studies, play, youth work and early years courses who wish to ground their concept of childhood in an historical analysis of the topic." Keith Cranwell, Thurrock College
About the Author
Colin Heywood is Senior Lecturer in Economic and Social History, University of Nottingham.
Table of Contents
Part I: Changing Conceptions of Childhood.
Conceptions of childhood in the Middle Ages.
The quest for a turning point.
Some themes in the cultural history of childhood.
Part II: Growing Up: Relations with Parents and Peers.
Parent-child relations: the first stages.
Caring for Infants?.
Parent-child relations during the second phase of childhood (c. 2 to 7 years).
Relations with parents and the peer group during the third phase of childhood (7 to 12 or 14).
Part III: Children in a Wider World.
Children at Work.
Investing in the Future.