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Child Domestic Workers in Zimbabwe

In the context of AIDS and a declining economy, one strategy for children to ensure their own livelihood is to engage in domestic employment. Here, Michael Bourdillon presents the findings of research based on interviews and discussions with child domestic workers in Zimbabwe. It looks at the circumstances that pushed them into employment, the hardships and humiliations they face therein, as well as the benefits they derive, including, in some cases, education. Most children wanted improvements in their living and working conditions. They did not want to be stopped from working, perceiving that this would worsen their already harsh lives. While child domestic wok is problematic, and often lays children open to various types of abuse, it can also offer critical support and patronage to very disadvantaged children.

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The Child in the World

Embodiment, Time, and Language in Early Childhood

Eva M. Simms

The Child in the World builds a bridge between continental philosophers, who tend to overlook child existence, and developmental psychologists, who often fail to consider the philosophical assumptions underlying their work. In this volume, author Eva M. Simms draws on both psychological and phenomenological research to investigate child existence in its cultural and historical context and explore the ways children interact with the world around them. Simms examines key experiences of childhood with special attention to the non-dualistic nature of the child’s consciousness and the understanding that there is more to the child’s experiences than cognitive processes. In chapters that proceed from infancy to early childhood, Simms considers how children live their embodiment, coexist with others, experience and the spaces and places of their neighborhoods, have deeply felt relations to things, grasp time intuitively and often in contradiction to adult clock-time, and are transformed by the mystery of the symbolic order of play and language. Simms’s approach is particularly informed by the philosophy of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, which allows for a descriptive and grounded understanding of child experience as well as sophisticated and critical philosophical thinking about human existence in general. By respecting and celebrating the magical non-dualistic relationship child consciousness has to the world, The Child in the World offers readers a unique opportunity to expand their understanding of human existence. Students and teachers of psychology and philosophy, early childhood educators, psychotherapists, as well as general readers who are parents of young children will enjoy this fascinating volume.

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Child Protection

Using Research to Improve Policy and Practice

edited by Ron Haskins, Fred Wulczyn, and Mary Bruce Webb

The National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW) is the first nationally representative study of children who have been reported to authorities as suspected victims of abuse or neglect and the public programs that protect them. Child Protection is the first book that reports the results of NSCAW, interprets the findings, and puts them into a broader policy context.

The authors, all experts in child welfare issues, address a range of issues made apparent by the survey results, including which types of personal and familial problems the programs are meant to address, the range of services and interventions that the child protection system can make available, and an assessment of these programs. Each chapter discusses the survey's implications and suggests new alternatives for designing and implementing future programs that not only protect at-risk children from further harm but also provide them with security and support. The practical lessons included in this volume make it an essential reference for all professionals working in the child protection field as well as anyone studying in the field of child welfare.

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Child Soldiers in the Western Imagination

From Patriots to Victims

David M Rosen

When we hear the term “child soldiers,” most Americans imagine innocent victims roped into bloody conflicts in distant war-torn lands like Sudan and Sierra Leone. Yet our own history is filled with examples of children involved in warfare—from adolescent prisoner of war Andrew Jackson to Civil War drummer boys—who were once viewed as symbols of national pride rather than signs of human degradation.
 
In this daring new study, anthropologist David M. Rosen investigates why our cultural perception of the child soldier has changed so radically over the past two centuries. Child Soldiers in the Western Imagination reveals how Western conceptions of childhood as a uniquely vulnerable and innocent state are a relatively recent invention. Furthermore, Rosen offers an illuminating history of how human rights organizations drew upon these sentiments to create the very term “child soldier,” which they presented as the embodiment of war’s human cost.
 
Filled with shocking historical accounts and facts—and revealing the reasons why one cannot spell “infantry” without “infant”—Child Soldiers in the Western Imagination seeks to shake us out of our pervasive historical amnesia. It challenges us to stop looking at child soldiers through a biased set of idealized assumptions about childhood, so that we can better address the realities of adolescents and pre-adolescents in combat. Presenting informative facts while examining fictional representations of the child soldier in popular culture, this book is both eye-opening and thought-provoking.   

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Childhood in a Sri Lankan Village

Shaping Hierarchy and Desire

Bambi L. Chapin

Like toddlers all over the world, Sri Lankan children go through a period that in the U.S. is referred to as the “terrible twos.” Yet once they reach elementary school age, they appear uncannily passive, compliant, and undemanding compared to their Western counterparts. Clearly, these children have undergone some process of socialization, but what?

Over ten years ago, anthropologist Bambi Chapin traveled to a rural Sri Lankan village to begin answering this question, getting to know the toddlers in the village, then returning to track their development over the course of the following decade. Childhood in a Sri Lankan Village offers an intimate look at how these children, raised on the tenets of Buddhism, are trained to set aside selfish desires for the good of their families and the community. Chapin reveals how this cultural conditioning is carried out through small everyday practices, including eating and sleeping arrangements, yet she also explores how the village’s attitudes and customs continue to evolve with each new generation.

Combining penetrating psychological insights with a rigorous observation of larger social structures, Chapin enables us to see the world through the eyes of Sri Lankan children searching for a place within their families and communities. Childhood in a Sri Lankan Village offers a fresh, global perspective on child development and the transmission of culture.    

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Children and Childhood in American Religions

Edited by Don S. Browning and Bonnie J. Miller-McLemore

Religious traditions play a central role in the lives of many American children. In this collection of essays, leading scholars reveal for the first time how various religions interpret, reconstruct, and mediate their traditions to help guide children and their parents in navigating the opportunities and challenges of American life. The book examines ten religions, among other topics. Only by discussing the unique challenges faced by all religions, and their followers, can we take the first step toward a greater understanding for all of us.

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Children and Youth in the Labour Process in Africa

It is increasingly clear that children and the youth today play a significant role in the labour process in Africa. But, to what extent is this role benign? And when and why does this role become exploitative rather than beneficial? This book on children and the youth in Africa sets out to address these questions. The book observes that in Africa today, children are under pressure to work, often engaged in the worst forms of child labour and therefore not living out their role as children. It argues that the social and economic environment of the African child is markedly different from what occurs elsewhere, and goes further to challenge all factors that have combined in stripping children of their childhood and turning them into instruments and commodities in the labour process. It also explains the sources, dynamics, magnitude and likely consequences of the exploitation of children and the youth in contemporary Africa. The book is an invaluable contribution to the discourse on children, while the case studies are aimed at creating more awareness about the development problems of children and the youth in Africa, with a view to evolving more effective national and global responses.

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Children Bound to Labor

The Pauper Apprentice System in Early America

The history of early America cannot be told without considering unfree labor. At the center of this history are African and Native American adults forced into slavery; the children born to these unfree persons usually inherited their parents' status. Immigrant indentured servants, many of whom were young people, are widely recognized as part of early American society. Less familiar is the idea of free children being taken from the homes where they were born and put into bondage.

As Children Bound to Labor makes clear, pauper apprenticeship was an important source of labor in early America. The economic, social, and political development of the colonies and then the states cannot be told properly without taking them into account. Binding out pauper apprentices was a widespread practice throughout the colonies from Massachusetts to South Carolina-poor, illegitimate, orphaned, abandoned, or abused children were raised to adulthood in a legal condition of indentured servitude. Most of these children were without resources and often without advocates. Local officials undertook the responsibility for putting such children in family situations where the child was expected to work, while the master provided education and basic living needs.

The authors of Children Bound to Labor show the various ways in which pauper apprentices were important to the economic, social, and political structure of early America, and how the practice shaped such key relations as master-servant, parent-child, and family-state in the young republic. In considering the practice in English, Dutch, and French communities in North America from the mid-seventeenth century to the mid-nineteenth century, Children Bound to Labor even suggests that this widespread practice was notable as a positive means of maintaining social stability and encouraging economic development.

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Children of a New World

Society, Culture, and Globalization

Paula Fass

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.

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Children Of Africa Confront AIDS

From Vulnerability To Possibility

Arvind Singhal

 AIDS is now the leading cause of death in Africa, where twenty-eight million people are HIV-positive, and where some twelve million children have lost one or both parents to AIDS. In Zimbabwe, 45 percent of children under the age of five are HIV-positive, and the epidemic has shortened life expectancy by twenty-two years. A fifteen-year-old in Botswana or South Africa has a one-in-two chance of dying of AIDS. AIDS deaths are so widespread in sub-Saharan Africa that small children now play a new game called “Funerals.”

The Children of Africa Confront AIDS depicts the reality of how African children deal with the AIDS epidemic, and how the discourse of their vulnerability affects acts of coping and courage. A project of the Institute for the African Child at Ohio University, The Children of Africa Confront AIDS cuts across disciplines and issues to focus on the world's most marginalized population group, the children of Africa.

Editors Arvind Singhal and Stephen Howard join conversations between humanitarian and political activists and academics, asking, “What shall we do?” Such discourse occurs in African contexts ranging from a social science classroom in Botswana to youth groups in Kenya and Ghana. The authors describe HIV/AIDS in its macro contexts of vulnerable children and the continent's democratization movements and also in its national contexts of civil conflict, rural poverty, youth organizations, and agencies working on the ground.

Singhal, Howard, and other contributors draw on compelling personal experience in descriptions of HIV/AIDS interventions for children in difficult circumstances and present thoughtful insights into data gathered from surveys and observations concerning this terrible epidemic.

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