Gendered childhoods: a cross disciplinary overview

Montgomery, Heather (2005). Gendered childhoods: a cross disciplinary overview. Gender and Education, 17(5) pp. 471–482.



The last three decades have seen the emergence of a new discipline of childhood studies, made up of contributions from sociology, anthropology and cultural studies, challenging previous studies of children based on paradigms from psychology and education. This new discipline has revolutionized the study of children and demanded that they be looked as important subjects in their own right. Tensions remain, however, between studies of gender and those of generation, and the importance of the latter has sometimes been overlooked as researchers concentrate on childhood as an age related experience and not a gendered one. This article looks at how this has come about and the ways in which the study of these two aspects of children’s lives needs to be better integrated. Children are pygmies among giants, ignorant among the knowledgeable, wordless among the articulate. … And to the adults, children everywhere represent something weak and helpless, in need of protection, supervision, training, models, skills, beliefs, education. (Mead & Wolfenstein, 1955, p. 7)

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