Sociology | Sociology of Childhood
S344 | 21113 | Corsaro
This course recognizes and examines childhood as a structural form and
children as social agents who contribute to societal reproduction and
change through their negotiations with adults and through their
creative production of a series of peer cultures with other children.
The course considers the relation of childhood to other social forms
or institutions and examines children’s participation in and
contributions to society historically and cross-culturally. The
course will discuss research methods for studying childhood and
compare the importance of family and peer experiences for children’s
social development and the quality of their childhoods. There will be
a special focus on the importance of peer interaction and culture for
childhood. We will examine experiences in the family that play a key
role in children’s transition to an initial peer culture. We will
then describe and consider central themes and features of children’s
preschool, preadolescent, and early adolescent peer cultures. The
course also examines how cultural values and social policies in the
areas of education, family, and work affect children’s lives.
Finally, the course will examine the social problems of children and
the future of childhood.
There will be a mid-term exam, two (6-7 page) papers related to
preadolescent and adolescent peer culture, a final paper (7-8 pages)
related to the social problems of children, and weekly paragraphs
discussing readings and class lectures. There will be a packet of
assigned readings and three books for the course. The books required
for the course are:
Patricia A. Adler and Peter Adler (1998). Peer Power: Preadolescent
Culture and Identity. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press.
William A. Corsaro (2005). The Sociology of Childhood. 2nd edition.
Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press.
Donna Eder (1995). School Talk: Gender and Adolescent Culture. New
Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press.