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How New Is the "New" Social Study of Childhood? The Myth of a Paradigm Shift

Patrick J. Ryan
The Journal of Interdisciplinary History
Vol. 38, No. 4 (Spring, 2008), pp. 553-576
Published by: The MIT Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20143705
Page Count: 24
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How New Is the "New" Social Study of Childhood? The Myth of a Paradigm Shift
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Abstract

During the past two decades, a well-organized group of social scientists has proclaimed a new paradigm of childhood that views children as subjects and childhood as socially constructed. An explanation of why these claims are not new from a historical perspective requires a deep understanding of the landscape of modern childhood and its intellectual origins. The terms of modern childhood have long positioned children as subjects who know by making them objects of knowledge. This paradox cannot be circumvented without the introduction of an entirely new language of personhood.

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