ABSTRACT

Modernity was associated not with the emergence of childhood per se but with a particular form of it that is marked by a heightened separation from adulthood. Childhood studies emerged as part of this modern concept of childhood. Belief in the separateness of childhood from adulthood was both a condition of possibility for, and an effect of, constituting childhood as a special sphere of study. The adult-child binary constituted childhood both as a distinct state of being, quite separate from adulthood, and a process of becoming adult that could be described, explored, mapped and explained. In this chapter I will trace the development of childhood studies from Darwin to the present day.