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Children of a New World

Society, Culture, and Globalization

Paula Fass

Publication Year: 2006

Paula S. Fass, a pathbreaker in children’s history and the history of education, turns her attention in Children of a New World to the impact of globalization on children’s lives, both in the United States and on the world stage. Globalization, privatization, the rise of the “work-centered” family, and the triumph of the unregulated marketplace, she argues, are revolutionizing the lives of children today.

Fass begins by considering the role of the school as a fundamental component of social formation, particularly in a nation of immigrants like the United States. She goes on to examine children as both creators of culture and objects of cultural concern in America, evident in the strange contemporary fear of and fascination with child abduction, child murder, and parental kidnapping. Finally, Fass moves beyond the limits of American society and brings historical issues into the present and toward the future, exploring how American historical experience can serve as a guide to contemporary globalization as well as how globalization is altering the experience of American children and redefining childhood.

Clear and scholarly, serious but witty, Children of a New World provides a foundation for future historical investigations while adding to our current understanding of the nature of modern childhood, the role of education for national identity, the crisis of family life, and the influence of American concepts of childhood on the world’s definitions of children's rights. As a new generation comes of age in a global world, it is a vital contribution to the study of childhood and globalization.

Published by: NYU Press


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Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

Over the course of the twenty-five years during which these essays were written, I have incurred a variety of intellectual and personal debts that can hardly be repaid in a brief acknowledgment, and I will make no attempt to do so here. But several individuals have been especially important to the specific form and shape that the work collected in this volume has ...

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Introduction: Children in Society, Culture, and the World

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pp. 1-18

This book, composed of essays written over the course of twenty-five years, results from the convergence of two major intellectual developments in the last quarter of the twentieth century. The first is the slow emergence and then the rapid development of children as important subjects of study in history and in several of its affiliated disciplines, such as ...

Part I. Children in Society

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pp. 19-20

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Introduction to Part I

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pp. 21-22

The three essays in this section address a fundamental question of American social life: How does a nation of immigrants become a cohesive but still democratic community? In the first of these essays (Chapter 1), an introduction to education and immigration written for Blackwell’s ...

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1. Immigration and Education in the United States

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pp. 23-48

Education has been central to immigrant experience in the United States and fundamental to the creation of the American nation. Education broadly understood is the whole manner in which the young are inducted into the society and enculturated to its norms, habits, and values. For the children of immigrants, this could be a very complex and conflicted ...

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2. The IQ

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pp. 49-73

Over the last 50 years, IQ testing has become a highly significant, though largely informal, social instrument lying at the very core of the American educational system. But its once automatic use in the schools and our present, almost equally automatic, tendency to deflate its significance obscures its very real historical importance as a product of ...

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3. Creating New Identities

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pp. 74-100

In the early years of the twentieth century, educators moved vigorously to expand and rationalize schooling, and to extend the age of attendance well beyond childhood into adolescence. “The period of adolescence,” the famous progressive educator, Elwood Cubberly, noted, “we now realize is a period of the utmost significance for the ...

Part II. Children in Culture

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pp. 101-102

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Introduction to Part II

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pp. 103-105

By the late nineteenth century, childhood, as a special period of life, had been made precious in the United States and in other societies in the West. Reformers sought to remove children from adult arenas, especially the world of work, but also from street activities associated with adult vice and immorality. As they acted to keep children in school for ...

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4. Making and Remaking an Event

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pp. 106-140

From the instant it broke on public awareness in 1924, the Leopold and Loeb case was enveloped by the mass media. In fact, journalists gathered critical evidence that helped crack the case. And two newsmen on the Chicago Daily News, James Mulroy and Alvin Goldstein, eventually shared some of the reward money as well as the Pulitzer Prize ...

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5. A Sign of Family Disorder?

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pp. 141-167

In the summer of 1873, “a gentleman of high social position” in Williamstown, New York, hired a “fast livery team” and carried off both his children. He presumably fled with them to Europe, since as “a man of means,” he would “spare no money to cover up the trail.” Although the courts had given this man, a Mr. Neil, custody of one his ...

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6. Bringing It Home

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pp. 168-196

The end of the Second World War came with twinned explosions. The nuclear bomb that destroyed Nagasaki, Japan, ended the costliest foreign war in American history. The baby boom that began at the same time ended one hundred years of steadily declining birth rates. Both of these events would have long-lasting consequences, but unlike the searing ...

Part III. Children of a New Global World

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pp. 197-198

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Introduction to Part III

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pp. 199-201

A word with an impersonal and clumsy sound, “globalization,” has often been invoked as a symbol of contemporary social change and a harbinger of a bleak future. As the following essays try to suggest, however, historians have been familiar with this phenomenon, if not with the word itself, for some time. The United States, one could argue,...

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7. Children and Globalization

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pp. 202-218

Boy and girl prostitutes in Thailand hired by French tourists; child pornography on the Internet; five-year-old indentured textile workers in India making silk for American clothing; Eastern European adolescent girls assaulted and raped as they seek glamorous careers on Milan’s runways: these are the startling images that confront us regularly now as the ...

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8. Children in Global Migrations

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pp. 219-238

The growing reality of movement across borders has become a twenty-first-century theme and increasingly a focus for the anxieties and uncertainties about change in our time. When it is paired with children, its potential as a modern form of brutality becomes an almost irresistible excuse for sadness and poignant reflection. The Brazilian photo-journalist ...

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9. Children of a New World

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pp. 239-260

The United States invented neither the faith in the expanding market that underwrites what we usually mean by “globalization” today, nor the image of childhood which haunts it.1 But it has made powerful contributions to the momentum of both and it practically invented modern adolescence and youth. It is therefore important for us to understand ...


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pp. 261-268

About the Author

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pp. 269-270

E-ISBN-13: 9780814728529
E-ISBN-10: 0814728529
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814727577
Print-ISBN-10: 0814727573

Page Count: 304
Publication Year: 2006

OCLC Number: 298283837
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Children of a New World

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Children in popular culture -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • Children -- Social conditions -- 20th century.
  • Socialization -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • Children -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • Children -- United States -- Social conditions -- 20th century.
  • Education -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • Globalization -- Social aspects.
  • Immigrant children -- Education -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
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