Sociology | The Sociology of Childhood
S344 | 10278 | Corsaro
OPEN TO UNDERGRADUATES ONLY
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, two short (5 -6 page) papers related to
key topics in the course, a final paper (7-8 pages) related to t he
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
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.