Children without Childhood

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 09:00
Location: Übungsraum 4A KS (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Mariam MEYNERT, Lund University, Sweden
This paper asserts that childhood is a cultural and social construction, constructed by modern society. Furthermore it gives an overview of the conceptualization of childhood from medieval times to the new postmodern age where childhood and its innocence and has been replaced by Kinderculture, the hurried childhood and loss of childhood. An overview of conceptualization of children from being a mini-adult  in medieval times; to the birth of the notion of childhood in the 1600s; to the child-centered ideology during the early period of capitalism; to the modern notion of childhood with its own autonomy during enlightenment; to the following period – the contradiction between conditions of the poor and middle class notion of childhood, leading to the initiation of legal protection for children; to the emergence of the new genre of child-oriented literature in the late 19th century; to the concept of childhood as a time of fun and happiness with the market economy making children´s toys accessible; and finally In the century of childhood in the 2oth century, bringing in state intervention in health and compulsory schooling. The last decades of the 20th century brought in lamentation of the loss of childhood and innocence. Due to the influence of new media technology and loosening of adult control, has brought in the dilemma of the postmodern childhood and the onset of Kinder-culture.  Some critical reflections are raised in the end about the contradiction in discourses on childhood in the North and South; and conceptualization, methods and practices needed for recovering childhood.