Chapter 6: Perspectives on Children's Agency within Families: A View from the Sociology of Childhood
Perspectives on children's agency within families: A view from the sociology of childhood This chapter introduces some ideas from the emerging field of the “sociology of childhood,” drawing on research from Europe and the United States. It describes some of the recent trends within sociology and attempts to explain how sociologists think about childhood and conceptualize children. It explores what some of these trends mean in practice, highlighting some of the methodological implications of this “new” approach. Up until the mid-1980s, sociologists were—on the whole—happy to leave the study of “the child” to developmental psychology, and to assume that children developed and were socialized into adulthood in relatively straightforward ways (arguably, mainstream sociology still treats children in this way). The purpose of this chapter is not to deconstruct or critique developmental psychology but rather to explore the potential contribution that a sociological perspective might bring to research on parent-child relations ...