Sociology | Social Problems and Policies (Topic: Childhood in Contemporary Society)
S101 | 3655 | William Corsaro
This course is about children and childhood with a focus on social
problems that affect children in contemporary society. We will be
examining how various changes in society have affected the nature of
childhood in both positive and ways. We will pay special attention to
the issue of whether or not there has been a loss or erosion of
childhood in contemporary society. In addressing these issues we will
review various theoretical approaches to child development,
socialization and the sociology of childhood. The entire range of
childhood from infancy through early adolescence will be covered.
Topics we will address include: the history of childhood; children and
families in a comparative perspective; the effects of parents versus
peers during childhood; daycare and early childhood education; play,
friendship, and peer culture from the preschool years through
adolescence; divorce and family disruption; child abuse; children in
poverty; children and the media; sexuality, teen pregnancy and teen
births; drugs; crime and violence; and the future of childhood. We
will examine these issues historically and from a cross-cultural and
cross-national perspective. Throughout the course students will be
encouraged to present and examine critically their own experiences and
beliefs regarding these issues.
There will be a number of one to two paragraph written assignments
covering the lectures and readings, one class paper (7-8 pages) in
which students link their own experiences to class readings and
discussions, and three in-class short-answer and essay exams. The
books required for the course are listed below. We will also use a
small packet of readings which will be available from TIS.
William A. Corsaro, The Sociology of Childhood. Thousand Oaks, CA:
Pine Forge Press,
Frank F. Furstenberg, Jr. and Andrew J. Cherlin, Divided Families:
What Happens to Children When Parents Part. Cambridge, MA: Harvard
University Press, 1991.