Childhood in Different Cultures

Westwood, Joanne Louise orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-7560-1391 (2013) Childhood in Different Cultures. In: An Introduction to Early Childhood Studies [Fourth Edition]. SAGE. ISBN 9781473974838

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The perception of childhood as a period of dependence and innocence has a long history. Being strongly associated with the Romantic Movement of eighteenth-century Europe it resonates with more recent Western theories of child development, ideas about child rearing and policies relating to the care and education of children. The advent of a global society, however, demands that we examine and reflect on our own belief systems and those which inform our individual and institutional practices with children. This chapter begins with a discussion of globalisation and culture (see Chapter 4) and then sets out reasons why a cross-cultural understanding of childhood, children and child rearing is a prerequisite for any form of intervention in children’s lives. Understanding the importance of culture can challenge our own preconceived ideas
about childhood in a global context and help us to determine what we expect from children and their place and rights in society.

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