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The notion of childhood or adolescence as a distinct stage of life or a social category that afforded political and social rights is a recent invention Zelizer, The aristocracy aside, previous generations and their social institutions have regarded children primarily as a source of cheap labour Cunningham, In , approximately half of the workforce was under 20 The National Archives , After , no factory or workshop could legally employ any child under the age of 8 and employees aged between 8 and 13 were to receive at least 10 hours of education per week The National Archives, Two trends emerged during this time; the sentimentalisation of childhood and the construction of a new category to describe the transition from childhood to adulthood: adolescence.

Younger people began a transformation from a domestic economic resource to objects which embodied the public institution of pure childhood to be protected and nurtured. Adolescents, beyond school, were given over to apprenticeships to learn the roles and responsibilities of adulthood.

Ideal types were created and used to protect and civilise urban working class groups Griffin, For the wealthy, public schools became engines of moral improvement that turned out ideal leaders equipped for the duties of empire Griffin, How youth developed, learnt, behaved; what they represented and believed became an issue of state and public concern. As a result, youth departed from being intrinsic to the state of being young Scott, to become a moral classification Qvortrup, In the late s, therefore, the line between youth and adulthood became sharper and more intensely watched Lesko, , p Under this gaze, anyone with power and privilege could influence the properties of youth created in discourse.

Griffin, C. Representations of youth p. Polity Press. Lesko, N.


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Act your age! The cultural construction of adolescence. Second Edi. Oxford: Routledge. A history of the present youth studies. Talburt Eds. Scott, S. Risk anxiety and the social construction of childhood.

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In Deborah Lupton Ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. The National Archives, T. The National Archives. However, Erikson believed the personality continued to change over time and was never truly finished. His theory includes eight stages of development, beginning with birth and ending with death. According to Erikson, people move through these stages throughout their lives.

A Sociological Approach On Self And Identity

Jean Piaget — was a psychologist who specialized in child development who focused specifically on the role of social interactions in their development. All three of these thinkers have contributed to our modern understanding of self-development. One of the pioneering contributors to sociological perspectives was Charles Cooley — During the preparatory stage, children are only capable of imitation: they have no ability to imagine how others see things.

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They copy the actions of people with whom they regularly interact, such as their mothers and fathers. This is followed by the play stage, during which children begin to take on the role that one other person might have. During the game stage, children learn to consider several roles at the same time and how those roles interact with each other.

They learn to understand interactions involving different people with a variety of purposes.

Is your identity given or created? - Marcus Lyon - TEDxExeter

For example, a child at this stage is likely to be aware of the different responsibilities of people in a restaurant who together make for a smooth dining experience someone seats you, another takes your order, someone else cooks the food, while yet another clears away dirty dishes. Finally, children develop, understand, and learn the idea of the generalized other , the common behavioral expectations of general society. Moral development is an important part of the socialization process. Moral development prevents people from acting on unchecked urges, instead considering what is right for society and good for others.

Lawrence Kohlberg — was interested in how people learn to decide what is right and what is wrong. To understand this topic, he developed a theory of moral development that includes three levels: preconventional, conventional, and postconventional. In the preconventional stage, young children, who lack a higher level of cognitive ability, experience the world around them only through their senses.

Self-Identity Essay

At this stage, people also recognize that legality and morality do not always match up evenly Kohlberg When hundreds of thousands of Egyptians turned out in to protest government corruption, they were using postconventional morality. They understood that although their government was legal, it was not morally correct. Would females study subjects have responded differently? Would a female social scientist notice different patterns when analyzing the research?

To answer the first question, she set out to study differences between how boys and girls developed morality. Boys tend to have a justice perspective, by placing emphasis on rules and laws. Ultimately, she explained that boys are socialized for a work environment where rules make operations run smoothly, while girls are socialized for a home environment where flexibility allows for harmony in caretaking and nurturing Gilligan ; Gilligan Bloom asserts that we are too focused on the appearance of young girls, and as a result, our society is socializing them to believe that how they look is of vital importance.

And Bloom may be on to something. How often do you tell a little boy how attractive his outfit is, how nice looking his shoes are, or how handsome he looks today? To support her assertions, Bloom cites, as one example, that about 50 percent of girls ages three to six worry about being fat Bloom Sociologists are acutely interested in of this type of gender socialization, by which societal expectations of how boys and girls should be —how they should behave, what toys and colors they should like, and how important their attire is—are reinforced.

One solution to this type of gender socialization is being experimented with at the Egalia preschool in Sweden, where children develop in a genderless environment.

D.EI.Ed Distance (ODL)

So what is the middle ground? Bloom suggests that we start with simple steps: when introduced to a young girl, ask about her favorite book or what she likes.


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In short, engage with her mind … not her outward appearance Bloom Psychological theories of self-development have been broadened by sociologists who explicitly study the role of society and social interaction in self-development. Charles Cooley and George Mead both contributed significantly to the sociological understanding of the development of self. Lawrence Kohlberg and Carol Gilligan developed their ideas further and researched how our sense of morality develops. Lawrence Kohlberg was most famous for his research using moral dilemmas. He presented dilemmas to boys and asked them how they would judge the situations.

Cooley, Charles Horton. Bloom, Lisa. Erikson, Erik. The Lifecycle Completed: A Review. New York: Norton. London: Routledge.