Sociology | The Sociology of Childhood
S344 | 3779 | 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 also examine the social
problems of children and the future of childhood.

There will be a mid-term, two short (4-5 page papers) related to key
topics in the course, a final paper (7-8 pages) related to the social
problems with 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 (1997). The Sociology of Childhood.  Thousand
Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press.

Donna Eder (1995). School Talk: Gender and Adolescent Culture. New
Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press.