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Childhood in Global Perspective

ISBN: 978-0-7456-3837-9
220 pages
June 2009, Polity
Childhood in Global Perspective (0745638376) cover image

The second edition of this compelling and popular book offers a unique global perspective on children’s lives throughout the world. It shows how the notion of childhood is being radically re-shaped, in part as a consequence of globalization.

Taking an engaging historical and comparative approach, the book explores social issues such as how children are constituted as raced, classed and gendered subjects; how children’s involvement in war is connected to the globalization of capitalism and organized crime; and how school and work operate as sites for the governing of childhood. The book discusses wide-ranging topics including children’s rights, the family, children and war, child labour and young people’s activism around the globe. In addition to updated literature throughout, the revised edition includes new chapters on migration and trafficking, and the role of play.

The book will continue to be of great value to students and scholars in the fields of sociology, geography, social policy and development studies. It will also be a valuable companion to practitioners of international development and social work, as well as to anyone interested in childhood in the contemporary world.

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Chapter 1: CHILDHOOD IN A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE.

Chapter 2: POLICY AND PRACTICE.

Chapter 3: GENDER, RACE AND CLASS.

Chapter 4: CHILDREN AND FAMILIES.

Chapter 5: SCHOOL AND WORK.

Chapter 6: CHILDREN AND POLITICS.

Chapter 7: CHILDREN AND YOUTH AT WAR.

Chapter 8: RESCUING CHILDREN AND CHILDREN’S RIGHTS.

Bibliography

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Karen Wells is Reader in International Development and Childhood Studiesat Birkbeck, University of London.

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  • Sociology of childhood (or sociology of youth) is widely taught across the social sciences.
  • Most books on the sociology of childhood tend to be parochial, whereas this takes an invigorating international approach.
  • Considers seriously the part children play in society and how issues such as race, class, gender and the family impact upon childhood.
  • Looks at issues of real importance and relevance to the today’s world, such as children and war, child labour and children’s rights.
  • Health and social care courses will also cover childhood, so this book could be of interest – it is certainly accessible enough for most readers.
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    "In both style and structure, Wells has ‘hit gold'"
    Journal of Sociology

    "In this ambitious but accessible text, Karen Wells analyses the social forces that contribute to the construction of childhood in today's global world. Debunking the conventional view of childhood as a natural phase of human development, this text shows the myriad ways in which children are implicated in the social reproduction of inequalities. This book deserves a wide audience; it is smart and places the sociology of childhood at the centre of contemporary global politics and analysis."
    Steven Seidman, author of Contested Knowledge: Social Theory Today

    "In this highly readable book, Karen Wells offers a welcome extension of the current debates in childhood studies into a global framework. She makes the big structural issues accessible by engaging with their everyday outcomes for children across the globe."
    Allison James, University of Sheffield

    "Karen Wells has written an important new book which examines the interplay of local and global factors on children's lives. Drawing on a variety of sources, it is truly interdisciplinary and offers a clear, well-written analysis of major theorists as well as presenting Wells's own exciting new work on representations of childhood. It offers challenging and critical perspectives on children's lives which will be invaluable to students, policy makers and anybody interested in contemporary childhoods."
    Heather Montgomery, Open University

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