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Recess Battles Cover

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Recess Battles

Playing, Fighting, and Storytelling

As children wrestle with culture through their games, recess itself has become a battleground for the control of children's time. Based on dozens of interviews and the observation of over a thousand children in a racially integrated, working-class public school, ecess Battles is a moving reflection of urban childhood at the turn of the millennium. The book debunks myths about recess violence and challenges the notion that schoolyard play is a waste of time. The author videotaped and recorded children of the Mill School in Philadelphia from 1991 to 2004 and asked them to offer comments as they watched themselves at play. These sessions in Recess Battles raise questions about adult power and the changing frames of class, race, ethnicity, and gender. The grown-ups' clear misunderstanding of the complexity of children's play is contrasted with the richness of the children's folk traditions.Recess Battles is an ethnographic study of lighthearted games, a celebratory presentation of children's folklore and its conflicts, and a philosophical text concerning the ironies of everyday childhood. Rooted in video micro-ethnography and the traditions of theorists such as Bourdieu, Willis, and Bateson, Recess Battles is written for a lay audience with extensive academic footnotes. International scholar Dr. Brian Sutton-Smith contributes a foreword, and the children themselves illustrate the text with black and white paintings.

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Rethinking Childhood

Edited by Peter B. Pufall and Richard P. Unsworth

Being a child in American society can be problematic. Twenty percent of American children live in poverty, parents are divorcing at high rates, and educational institutions are not always fulfilling their goals. Against this backdrop, children are often patronized or idealized by adults. Rarely do we look for the strengths within children that can serve as the foundation for growth and development. In Rethinking Childhood, twenty contributors, coming from the disciplines of anthropology, government, law, psychology, education, religion, philosophy, and sociology, provide a multidisciplinary view of childhood by listening and understanding the ways children shape their own futures. Topics include education, poverty, family life, divorce, neighborhood life, sports, the internet, and legal status. In all these areas, children have both voice and agency. They construct their own social networks and social reality, sort out their own values, and assess and cope with the perplexing world around them. The contributors present ideas that lead not only to new analyses but also to innovative policy applications. 

Taken together, these essays develop a new paradigm for understanding childhood as children experience these years. This paradigm challenges readers to develop fresh ways of listening to children’s voices that enable both children and adults to cross the barriers of age, experience, and stereotyping that make communication difficult.

A volume in the Rutgers Series in Childhood Studies, edited by Myra Bluebond-Langner.

Rights and Wrongs of Children's Work Cover

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Rights and Wrongs of Children's Work

Michael F. C. Bourdillon, Deborah Levison, William E. Myers, and Ben White

Rights and Wrongs of Children's Work, a groundbreaking book authored by an interdisciplinary team of experts, incorporates recent theoretical advances and experiences to explore the place of labor in children's lives and development. It condemns the exploitation and abuse of child workers and supports the right of all children to the best quality, free education that society can afford. At the same time, the authors recognize the value, and sometimes the necessity, of work in growing up, and the reality that a "workless" childhood, without responsibilities, is not good preparation for adult life in any environment.

Risky Lessons Cover

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Risky Lessons

Sex Education and Social Inequality

Jessica Fields

Curricula in U.S. public schools are often the focus of heated debate, and few subjects spark more controversy than sex education. While conservatives argue that sexual abstinence should be the only message, liberals counter that an approach that provides comprehensive instruction and helps young people avoid sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy is necessary. Caught in the middle are the students and teachers whose everyday experiences of sex education are seldom as clear-cut as either side of the debate suggests. Risky Lessons brings readers inside three North Carolina middle schools to show how students and teachers support and subvert the official curriculum through their questions, choices, viewpoints, and reactions. Most important, the book highlights how sex education's formal and informal lessons reflect and reinforce gender, race, and class inequalities. Ultimately critical of both conservative and liberal approaches, Fields argues for curricula that promote social and sexual justice. Sex education's aim need not be limited to reducing the risk of adolescent pregnancies, disease, and sexual activity. Rather, its lessons should help young people to recognize and contend with sexual desires, power, and inequalities.

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Statism, Youth and Civic Imagination

A Critical Study of the National Youth Service Corps Programme in Nigeria

This study explores the service-citizenship nexus in Nigeria, using the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme as an empirical backdrop. It attempts to understand the relationship between civic service and citizenship on the one hand, and it examines the question as to whether youth service promotes a sense of citizenship and patriotism on the other. In the relevant studies on service and sociology, the assumption that service is antecedent to, and impacts positively on citizenship, is taken for granted. However, conclusions from this study call for an urgent rethinking of this wisdom. Using data from open-ended interviews, questionnaires and focus group discussions, the study traces the ways in which political dynamics in Nigeria have affected the implementation of the NYSC programme. The study articulates allegiance to national ideals as an essential foundation for creating and nurturing citizenship. Although it upholds the potential of national service as a tool for national integration, this research cautions against unalloyed faith in its presumed agency, arguing that the limitations imposed by the prevailing socio-political ecology should not be ignored.

Stolen Childhood, Second Edition Cover

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Stolen Childhood, Second Edition

Slave Youth in Nineteenth-Century America

Wilma King

One of the most important books published on slave society, Stolen Childhood focuses on the millions of children and youth enslaved in 19th-century America. This enlarged and revised edition reflects the abundance of new scholarship on slavery that has emerged in the 15 years since the first edition. While the structure of the book remains the same, Wilma King has expanded its scope to include the international dimension with a new chapter on the transatlantic trade in African children, and the book's geographic boundaries now embrace slave-born children in the North. She includes data about children owned by Native Americans and African Americans, and presents new information about children's knowledge of and participation in the abolitionist movement and the interactions between enslaved and free children.

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Suffering Childhood in Early America

Violence, Race, and the Making of the Child Victim

Anna Mae Duane

Nothing tugs on American heartstrings more than an image of a suffering child. Anna Mae Duane goes back to the nation’s violent beginnings to examine how the ideal of childhood in early America was fundamental to forging concepts of ethnicity, race, and gender. Duane argues that children had long been used to symbolize subservience, but in the New World those old associations took on more meaning. Drawing on a wide range of early American writing, she explores how the figure of a suffering child accrued political weight as the work of infantilization connected the child to Native Americans, slaves, and women.

In the making of the young nation, the figure of the child emerged as a vital conceptual tool for coming to terms with the effects of cultural and colonial violence, and with time childhood became freighted with associations of vulnerability, suffering, and victimhood. As Duane looks at how ideas about the child and childhood were manipulated by the colonizers and the colonized alike, she reveals a powerful line of colonizing logic in which dependence and vulnerability are assigned great emotional weight. When early Americans sought to make sense of intercultural contact—and the conflict that often resulted—they used the figure of the child to help displace their own fear of lost control and shifting power.

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Super Girls, Gangstas, Freeters, and Xenomaniacs

Gender & Modernity in Global Youth Culture

by Susan Dewey and Karen Brison

A compelling look at the ways in which youth, gender and gender identities are being transformed around the globe.

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Their Time Has Come

Youth with Disabilities on the Cusp of Adulthood

Valerie Leiter

The lives of youth with disabilities have changed radically in the past fifty years. Youth who are coming of age right now are the first generation to receive educational services throughout childhood and adolescence. Disability policies have opened up opportunities to youth, and they have responded by getting higher levels of education than ever before. Yet many youth are being left behind, compared to their peers without disabilities. Youth with disabilities often still face major obstacles to independence.In Their Time Has Come, Valerie Leiter argues that there are crucial missing links between federal disability policies and the lives of young people. Youth and their parents struggle to gather information about the resources that disability policies have created, and youth are not typically prepared to use their disability rights effectively. Her argument is based on thorough examination of federal disability policy and interviews with young people with disabilities, their parents, and rehabilitation professionals. Attention is given to the diversity of expectations, the resources available to them, and the impact of federal policy and public and private attitudes on their transition to adulthood.

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Trafficking in Slavery's Wake

Law and the Experience of Women and Children in Africa

Benjamin N. Lawrance and Richard L. Roberts

Women and children have been bartered, pawned, bought, and sold within and beyond Africa for longer than records have existed. This important collection examines the ways trafficking in women and children has changed from the aftermath of the “end of slavery” in Africa from the late nineteenth century to the present.

The formal abolition of the slave trade and slavery did not end the demand for servile women and children. Contemporary forms of human trafficking are deeply interwoven with their historical precursors, and scholars and activists need to be informed about the long history of trafficking in order to better assess and confront its contemporary forms. This book brings together the perspectives of leading scholars, activists, and other experts, creating a conversation that is essential for understanding the complexity of human trafficking in Africa.

Human trafficking is rapidly emerging as a core human rights issue for the twenty-first century. Trafficking in Slavery’s Wake is excellent reading for the researching, combating, and prosecuting of trafficking in women and children.

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