Children and Childhood in Western Society Since 1500

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Routledge, Jul 10, 2014 - History - 256 pages
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This book investigates the relationship between ideas about childhood and the actual experience of being a child, and assesses how it has changed over the span of five hundred years. Hugh Cunningham tells an engaging story of the development of ideas about childhood from the Renaissance to the present, taking in Locke, Rosseau, Wordsworth and Freud, revealing considerable differences in the way western societites have understood and valued childhood over time. His survey of parent/child relationships uncovers evidence of parental love, care and, in the frequent cases of child death, grief throughout the period, concluding that there was as much continuity as change in the actual relations of children and adults across these five centuries.

For undergraduate courses in History of the Family, European Social History, History of Children and Gender History.


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1 Introduction
2 Children and childhood in ancient and medieval Europe
3 The development of a middleclass ideology of childhood 15001900
4 Family work and school 15001900
5 Children philanthropy and the state in Europe 15001860
6 Saving the children c1830c1920
7 The century of the child?
8 Conclusion
Guide to further reading

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About the author (2014)

Hugh Cunningham is Emeritus Professor of Social History at the University of Kent.

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