Childhood, Society and Children's Rights - SO538

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2017-18 2018-19
Canterbury Autumn
View Timetable
6 15 (7.5)







This module provides a broad-based introduction to the concept of childhood, its historical evolution (including contemporary influences arising from new technologies and electronic media) and its 'social construction'. Within this context, different perspectives on children’s rights are examined, contrasting those which emphasise children's vulnerability and need for forms of protection and others which argue for children's participation, empowerment or even liberation. The module will also examine contemporary social problems e.g. child labour, sexual exploitation in terms of understandings of childhood and children's rights. Although there are no formal co-requisites for this module, its subject matter fits well with that covered in SA531 The Care and Protection of Children.


This module appears in:

Contact hours

11 lectures and 11 seminars, each of 1 hour


Available 2016/17 not available 2017/18

Method of assessment

100% coursework (seminar participation, presentation and essay, 3,000 words)

Preliminary reading

Wyness, M (2014) Childhood, Policy Press
Kehily M (ed) (2nd edn. 2008) An Introduction to Childhood Studies. Open UP
Qvortrup J (2011) The Palgrave Handbook of Childhook Studies, Palgrave
James A & James A (2008) Key Concepts in Childhood Studies. Sage
Kehily M (ed) (2013) Understanding Childhood: a cross-disciplinary approach, Policy Press
Leonard M (2016) The Sociology of Children, Childhood and Generation. Sage

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

See the library reading list for this module (Medway)

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, students will:
have acquired an understanding of the ways in which childhood is ‘socially constructed’
be familiar with competing perspectives on children’s rights and with the national and international frameworks for their implementation and monitoring
be able to apply the above knowledge to particular social problems facing children
demonstrate an ability to analyse the ways in which policy interventions in children’s lives are shaped by and shape concepts of childhood and children’s rights
have developed skills in presentation and debate, both verbal and written, and in utilisation of research and statistical data

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