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2019 | 578(3) | 3-10

Article title

Interpretations of the concepts of children and childhood in a sociocultural perspective


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Interpretations of the concepts of children and childhood have significantly changed over the past centuries. In the eighteenth century childhood was ascribed a status of a separate phase of human life in which human beings learn, grow and develop. Research conducted within the developmental psychology paradigm based on the notion of childhood’s ‘naturalness’ and on the necessity and normality of development has contributed to the emergence of a universal vision of the child and childhood. This vision has been challenged by the research conducted within the sociocultural paradigm in which childhood, understood as a social construction, is neither a natural nor a universal feature of human groups but appears as a specific structural and cultural component of many societies. We focused our attention on the sociocultural interpretations of the concepts of children and childhood. Our aim is, therefore, to show the ways in which children and childhood are understood in a sociocultural perspective. In the introductory part of the paper we briefly describe a universal vision of child development as well as the criticism it met from the supporters of the social childhood studies. In the main part of the article we focus our attention on the issue of social constructing of children and childhood. Sociocultural approach to childhood reveals a multitude and diversity of images of children and childhood constructed by adults in a variety of places, contexts and social spaces.





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