What is Childhood and Youth Studies?

Montgomery, Heather (2023). What is Childhood and Youth Studies? In: Cooper, Victoria and Tatlow-Golden, Mimi eds. An Introduction to Childhood and Youth Studies and Psychology. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, pp. 10–23.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003358855-2

Abstract

This chapter introduces the key concepts that underpin Childhood and Youth Studies as a distinct field of study and discusses their value as a way of learning about children and young people’s lives in contemporary societies. It focuses in particular on the idea that childhood and youth are socially constructed and change over time and place and within and between societies. The implications of this idea are profound, and the chapter elaborates on links between how children and young people are thought about and conceptualised and the effects this has on how they are treated and what policies are put in place to promote their welfare. The chapter also looks at the different specialist areas, such as Early Childhood or Youth Studies, which focus on different age groups and which have contributed to the development of Childhood and Youth Studies. Finally, it discusses the importance of children’s rights in contemporary children’s lives and how the development of these has had an impact on children’s experiences of childhood.

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