Children within anthropology: lessons from the past

Montgomery, Heather (2009). Children within anthropology: lessons from the past. Childhood in the Past: An International Journal, 2(1) pp. 3–14.



This article describes the history of childhood studies within anthropology. Taking the nineteenth century as its starting point, it looks at how children have been used by anthropologists in a variety of ways to further their understandings of society and culture. It examines various modes of thought within anthropology, all of which explicitly use ideas about childhood to discuss topics such as the relationship between primitive and childish thought and the evolution of humankind. It then examines the importance of studies of child-rearing practices within anthropology before finally considering the move towards child-centred anthropology and the recognition of children as active informants and meaning makers. It concludes with an examination of the common ground shared by those who study childhood in the past and those who do so in the present.

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