SOC06006 2022 Sociology of Childhood and the Family

General Details

Full Title
Sociology of Childhood and the Family
Transcript Title
Sociology of Childhood
100 %
Subject Area
SOC - Sociology
SOCS - Social Sciences
06 - NFQ Level 6
05 - 05 Credits
Start Term
2022 - Full Academic Year 2022-23
End Term
9999 - The End of Time
majella mulkeen
Programme Membership
SG_HEARL_H08 202200 Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Early Childhood Care and Education SG_HEARL_G07 202200 Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Care and Education SG_HEARM_H08 202300 Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Early Childhood Care and Education SG_HEARL_H08 202300 Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Early Childhood Care and Education

The aim of this module is to critically look at what we understand by the concept of ‘childhood’ and the concept of the ‘family’. In doing so we will examine cultural and historical differences in how these concepts are understood and experienced so as to highlight the contingent nature of seemingly ‘natural’ phenomenon. Concepts such as age, the child, childhood, social construction, interpretative socialisation and the agency/structure debate, all contribute to problematizing familiar concepts such as ‘child’ and ‘family’. The module examines children’s lives and family life from a sociological perspective taking a social construction approach and placing children’s experiences and views as central to the analysis.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module the learner will/should be able to;


Understand historical social and cultural constructions of childhood and the family through reference to a range of historical accounts and cultural constructions of childhood and family life


Be familiar with the social construction approach to the study of childhood


Identify a range of research sources using the voice of the child to give visibility to children’s perspectives on core aspects of their lives as they experience them


Describe the diverse influences shaping childhood with specific reference to gender and participation discourses


Demonstrate an understanding of current sociological analyses of families in the Irish context

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Teaching and Learning in this module is based on attendance at lectures weekly and reading and discussion of a series of specific case studies and dedicated texts in order to understand the contribution of a sociological analysis to the development of the early years practitioner.

Participation is expected by reading and addressing specific questions about the text at each tutorial. Students are expected to arrive at tutorials with reading completed and ready to discuss. Lectures give an overview of the material addressed in more detial in selected texts.

Module Assessment Strategies

Assessment of this module requires the learner to demonstrate understanding of sociological perspectives on children as an interest group and the relevance of this appraoch in a policy and practice context. As such the assessment strategy has a focus on research and writing skills and the ability to describe, analyse and apply concepts to a social context.

Assessment 1: 40% Research Project on Childrens Rights Organisation and theri relevance to ECCE

Assessment 2: 60% Investigation of the Situation and Experience of specific groups of children in Ireland

Repeat Assessments

Research Projec 40/60%

Indicative Syllabus

  1. Sociological perspectives on childhood; examination of key concepts in the study of childhood from socialization to the'new' sociology and critiques
  2. Historical and cultural perspectives on childhood: examples from a national and global context
  3. Introduction to the social construction approach to the study of childhood: dominant discourses of childhood in western societies: puritan, tabula rasa and romantic discourses; implications for childrens lives
  4. Gendered childhood and implications for children's experiences: case study examples
  5. Poverty and inequality among children in Ireland; case studies and campaign work
  6. Participation: definitions, current trends in policy formation and case study examples
  7. Family life and changes in the Irish context: patterns and trends
  8. Locating the child’s perspective: research highlighting children views on a range of relevant concerns in their lives: School, Family, Neighbourhood, Being ‘Smart’, fitting in, etc

Coursework & Assessment Breakdown

Coursework & Continuous Assessment
40 %
End of Semester / Year Formal Exam
60 %

Coursework Assessment

Title Type Form Percent Week Learning Outcomes Assessed
1 Research Project Coursework Assessment Project 40 % Week 4 2,3,4

End of Semester / Year Assessment

Title Type Form Percent Week Learning Outcomes Assessed
1 Project Final Exam Group Project 60 % Week 13 1,5

Full Time Mode Workload

Type Location Description Hours Frequency Avg Workload
Lecture Lecture Theatre Lecture 2 Weekly 2.00
Tutorial Flat Classroom tutorial 1 Weekly 1.00
Total Full Time Average Weekly Learner Contact Time 3.00 Hours

Required & Recommended Book List

Recommended Reading
2013 A Sociology of Ireland pp185-189. Dublin Gill and Macmillan

Recommended Reading
2010 All you need... measuring childrens perceptions and experiences of deprivation at www.childrensresearch centre

Recommended Reading
2008 Children at the Margins? Changing constructions of childhood in contemporary Irelandin James, A. and James A. (EDS) European Childhoods Culture, politics and childhoods in Europe. London Palgrave Macmillan

Recommended Reading
2010 Childrens Perspectives on Parenting Styles and Discipline: A Developmental Approach. Childrens Research Centre TCD Dublin

Recommended Reading
2012 Do 0-6 year olds need lessons in gender equality? Equality and Diversity in Early Childhood. Gill and Macmillan

Recommended Reading
2004 Families and Family Life in Ireland Challenges for the Future Report of the Public Consultations Dept Social and Family Affairs

Recommended Reading
2008 Key concepts in Childhood Studies London: Sage

Recommended Reading
2015 Key Thinkers in Childhood Studies Policy Press Bristol

Recommended Reading
2001 Locating the Childrens Voice in Irish Primary Education in Understanding Children Vol 1 Dublin, Oaktree Press

Recommended Reading
2009 Poverty and the Life Cycle in 20th Century Ireland: Changing Experiences of Childhood, Education and the Transition to Adulthood. NUIM eprints

Recommended Reading
2005 Researching Childrens Experiences: Approaches and Methods. . London. Sage Publications

Recommended Reading
2009 Social and Physical Ecologies of Childhood: A case study of childrens perspectives on their neighbourhood DCYA Research Briefing Note No. 6

Recommended Reading
2012 State of the Nations Children Report 2012 Dublin Dept Children and Youth Affairs

Recommended Reading
2010 The global and the local: mapping changes in Irish childhood. Eire/Ireland Vol 46(3:-:-4) Winter pp 63-83

Recommended Reading
2014 The Government of Childhood: Discourse, Power and Subjectivity Palgrave Macmillan

Recommended Reading
2003 Understanding Childhood: An interdisciplinary approach. Chicester Wiley OUP

Recommended Reading
2011 Understanding children and childhood Southern Cross University

Recommended Reading
2012 Who I am: exploring the nature and meaning of childrens active and social selves Dublin DCYA Research Briefing Note 13

Module Resources

URL Resources

Childrens Rights Alliance www.


Dept of Children and Youth Affairs at