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A Historical Sociology of Childhood.Developmental Thinking, Categorization and Graphic Visualization

André Turmel

André Turmel, A Historical Sociology of Childhood. Developmental Thinking, Categorization and Graphic Visualization, Cambridge (UK), Cambridge University Press, 2008, 376p.

What constitutes a ‘normal’ child ? Throughout the nineteenth century public health and paediatrics played a leading role in the image and conception of children. By the twentieth century psychology had moved to the forefront, transforming our thinking and understanding. André Turmel investigates these transformations both from the perspective of the scientific observation of children (public hygiene, paediatrics, psychology and education) and from a public policy standpoint (child welfare, health policy, education and compulsory schooling). Using detailed historical accounts from Britain, the USA and France, Turmel studies how historical sequential development and statistical reasoning have led to a concept of what constitutes a ‘normal’ child and resulted in a form of standardization by which we monitor children. He shows how western society has become a child-centred culture and asks whether we continue to base parenting and teaching on a view of children that is no longer appropriate.

• An original contribution to the sociology of childhood which takes a historical approach rather than the usual focus on socialisation • Shows how a cultural historical process has moulded our contemporary understanding of children • Engages with Darwin, Piaget and other historical figures of developmental thinking - [>http://www.cambridge.org/catalogue/...]

André Turmel est membre de l’AISLF.


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