Social Theorizing and the Child: Constraints and Possibilities

  • Chris Jenks
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (NSSA, volume 161)


In this chapter, I consider the basis for the concept of “development” as a dominant metaphor in our understanding of childhood. Some of the implications and shortcomings of the concept are explored largely in terms of its tendency to routinize, naturalize, and take for granted the experience of childhood. Father, it is suggested, the child is brought into being through a variety of forms of discourse, all of which interrelate socially and exhibit different sets of interests. The whole analysis is conducted from a sociological perspective, itself one form of discourse, which also generates a critical appraisal of its own modes of explanation, whether consensual or conflictual. Alternative possibilities are raised.


Penguin Book Sociological Perspective Social Sense Sociological Tradition Maternal Autonomy 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chris Jenks
    • 1
  1. 1.Goldsmiths’ CollegeUniversity of LondonLondonUK

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