chapter  1
5 Pages

Introduction

This chapter examines and appraisers what are by common consent some of the problems of childhood, as well as the role that education and schools play in addressing the problems. Examination of the many agencies catering for children and young people may help us to glean some sense of what people mean by childhood. Social scientists describe all these places as institutions of childhood, and the long and diverse list is indicative of the place childhood occupies in the social structures of UK society. Ideal types, which form the assumptions behind institutional or professional understandings of children, their needs and so on, are themselves informed by broader social discourses. Coming from a coalition of disciplinary backgrounds, including sociology, education studies, anthropology, women's studies, social psychology and cultural studies, many social scientists assert the need to reappraise how we think about children and have been leaders in the emergence of what is described as the New or Critical Childhood Studies.