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The Agency of Children
From Family to Global Human Rights

  • Date Published: December 2012
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521604703

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About the Authors
  • The idea of children's agency is central to the growing field of childhood studies. In this book David Oswell argues for new understandings of children's agency. He traces the transformation of children and childhood across the nineteenth, twentieth and early twenty-first centuries and explores the dramatic changes in recent years to children's everyday lives as a consequence of new networked, mobile technologies and new forms of globalisation. The author reviews existing theories of children's agency as well as providing the theoretical tools for thinking of children's agency as spatially, temporally and materially complex. With this in mind, he surveys the main issues in childhood studies, with chapters covering family, schooling, crime, health, consumer culture, work and human rights. This is a comprehensive text intended for students and academic researchers across the humanities and social sciences interested in the study of children and childhood.

    • Presents a new theoretical framework for thinking about children's agency
    • Provides a comprehensive overview of the field of the sociology of childhood and a synthesis of existing theories of children's agency
    • Includes a range of ideas and material at the forefront of the field
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This book offers a lucid and authoritative reconceptualisation of agency and probes crucial issues surrounding contemporary childhood and childhood studies. A text to think with - and act on.' Kirsten Drotner, University of Southern Denmark

    'An insightful and very welcome addition to the field, The Agency of Children offers a fresh and distinctive approach to childhood studies. Harmonising past and present with his own clear voice, Oswell develops an original commentary that is a must-read for all who seek to understand children and childhood in contemporary times.' Mary Jane Kehily, The Open University

    'A hugely significant reworking of the concept of agency with respect to children and childhood. Essential reading for all involved in the field.' Valerie Walkerdine, Distinguished Research Professor, Cardiff University

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    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2012
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521604703
    • length: 312 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 151 x 14 mm
    • weight: 0.5kg
    • contains: 2 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Introduction:
    1. Introduction
    2. Agency after Ariès: sentiments, natures and spaces
    Part II. Social Theories of Children and Childhood:
    3. Modern social theories: agency and structure
    4. Partial and situated agency
    5. Subjectivity, experience and post-social assemblages
    Part III. Spaces of Experience, Experimentation and Power:
    6. Family and household
    7. School and education
    8. Crime and criminality
    9. Health and medicine
    10. Play and consumer culture
    11. Political economies of labour
    12. Rights and political participation
    Part IV. Conclusions:
    13. Conclusions.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • The Anthropology of Childhood
    • sociology of childhood
  • Author

    David Oswell, Goldsmiths, University of London
    David Oswell is Reader in Sociology and Director of Postgraduate Research in the Department of Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London. He is the author of Television, Childhood and the Home: A History of the Making of the Child Television Audience in Britain (2002), Culture and Society (2006), Cultural Theory: Volumes 1–4 (2010) and various articles in academic journals and edited collections.

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