2 Images of childhood and youth
Why consider images or representations of childhood and youth? To appreciate what is involved in the process of research, we first need to understand how we think about and view children and young people, and how images of them vary across time and cultures. The images of childhood and youth that we hold influence our opinions, judgements and values. This has a significant impact on the way we interact with children and young people, and also on the nature of the research we undertake. But where do these images come from? In this section, we examine images from a historical, cultural and social perspective and try to understand how they have influenced the views we hold today. One of the most important learning outcomes of this course is the ability to reflect on your own position, understanding your personal orientations to childhood and youth, and the sources that have influenced their formation.
Conceptualisations of childhood and youth
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Childhood and youth are not universal terms. How children and young people experience childhood depends on a host of factors, e.g. personality, social circumstances, gender, age, ethnicity, religion and cultural background.