Category: Sociology of Children

Marketing Children: Overcoding Indigenous Children with Colonial Happiness in the Child Welfare System

In 1964, the Today’s Child column began in the Toronto Telegram, written by Helen Allen at the behest of then-Deputy Minister of Welfare in Ontario, Dr. James Band. In 1972, the column moved to the Toronto Star. The Today’s Child ran weekly until 1982 and featured over 4,000 daily advertisements of children who were available for adoption. Each column would feature a photo of the child or multiple children and offer descriptions of each child’s appearance and disposition. A television...

Infant feeding and the need for sociology

Discussion of how mothers feed their babies is rarely out of the news. Ellie Lee, Director of the Centre for Parenting Culture Studies at the University of Kent reflects on the issues.  As we teach our students, the sociological imagination helps us to see the relatedness of private problems and public issues. Sociological work about feeding babies stands as an excellent example of the application of this point. Research about the public struggles over how babies are fed, and the struggles women...

Won’t somebody think of the children? Social democratic and neoliberal responses to ‘troubled families’ since 1945

When then Prime Minister David Cameron launched the Troubled Families Programme (TFP) in 2011 he claimed that ‘we’ve known for years that a relatively small number of families are the source of a large proportion of the problems in society’. He then outlined how his government would, in a radical new policy, ‘turn around’ the lives of the 120,000 so-called ‘troubles families’ by the end of the Parliamentary term. It did not work. In its official evaluation, the TFP was...

Children’s Experiences of Childcare in Australia

Our article, “Autonomy, Fairness and Active Relationships: Children’s Experiences of Well-being in Childcare” (Cooke et al., 2018), recently published in Children & Society, provides insight into how children view their care, in a context where policy makers and academics agree that children’s subjective well-being in childcare is important, but research on this topic is limited. While some studies have examined children’s experiences of specific childcare settings (e.g. Outside School Hours Care [OSHC], Early Childhood Education and Care [ECEC]), many families...

Child’s play? Children and young people’s resistances to domestic violence and abuse

Children’s play is often viewed through adult eyes. We worry if children don’t get to play enough, and are often concerned that they are getting opportunities for the ‘right kind’ of play – they need to play ‘properly’ to grow up into ‘proper’ adults.  In developmental research, play is often described as a kind of stepping stone or building block toward something else. So when a child is throwing a ball to another child, professionals might see this as an...

Imagining their Future Selves: Children’s Attitudes to Older People and their Expectations of Life at Age 70

Our recent article ‘Imagining their Future Selves: Children’s Attitudes to Older People and their Expectations of Life at Age 70’ published in the journal Children & Society provided an insight into children’s thoughts about older people, and how they imagine their own lives will be when they are older. So why is this important? Well, we know that the world’s population is ageing.  We also know that there has been scare-mongering about the ‘crisis’ this will cause, especially for the...

Unqualified Teachers: Why Our Young People Deserve Better

According to shadow education secretary Tristam Hunt, there are currently 17,100 unqualified teachers, teaching more than 400,000 of our children, in state funded schools. I was one of them. In 2007, burnt out from years working in the care sector, I decided it was time for a change. I needed some hope – to feel I was making a difference. I responded to an advert for a job as a Lesson Cover Supervisor in a local secondary school in my...