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2021/22 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

EDUC5861M Theorizing Childhood and Youth

30 creditsClass Size: 40

Module manager: Dr Peter Hart

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2021/22

This module is approved as an Elective

Module summary

The core module will introduce you to the multi- and interdisciplinary study of children and young people through a focus on key developments in academic thinking, policy and practice. The 'new' social studies of childhood provide the theoretical basis of the module. It sees the child as 'becoming' in terms of development, change and maturation and as a 'being' that is a person with capacity to create meaning and to act in the world. In this module we will draw on psychological, social, biological and cultural perspectives. Consistent with this, the module emphasises the understanding of the life-worlds of children and young people from their own perspectives (their experiences, understandings and meaning making) and seeing children as social actors actively engaging in their lives as parts of the family, school, local and global communities. You will have the opportunity to study the various, sometimes competing, paradigms concerned with children's voice and rights and engage in debate, analysis and critique of the current research-policy-to-practice contexts nationally and internationally drawing on examples concerning children's and young people's rights, learning, development and care. The reading of key texts and critical discussion of concepts and perspectives will help you to understand important paradigmatic shifts and their implication for our thinking and practice. You will engage with a range of on-line materials and activities.Through this module you will gain an overview of key theoretical debates and develop a critical analytical understanding of children as social actors, a theme that is developed in more detail within the other modules of the programme.


It aims to:
Introduce the development of Childhood Studies as an evolving, multi-disciplinary endeavour and consider how its construction as an interdisciplinary field may be advanced;
- Consider the shift in the psychological study of children from child development to development in social context;
- Examine the sociological study of children, including the social construction of childhood and current debates about the bio-social hybridity of childhood;
- Consider children as social actors, including collective and individual agency;
- Examine aspects of children and young people's relationships, including as sexual citizens; as members of families and in generational contexts; and in relation to the family, school and the state.

Learning outcomes
On completion of the module, students should be able to:
- Make a considered argument about whether and how Childhood Studies can advance as a multi-disciplinary and interdisciplinary endeavour;
- Draw on a variety of theoretical perspectives and empirical studies in order to demonstrate knowledge of how different disciplines have contributed to the study of children and childhood;
- Demonstrate a critical understanding of childhood and youth as social constructions and children and young people as social actors;
- Demonstrate a critical understanding of children and young people's relationships in the context of sexuality, family, generational relationships, and the state.

Skills outcomes
The theoretical underpinnings of Childhood Studies.


Indicative content:
Module Introduction
Child development: From developmental psychology to development in context
Social Construction of Childhood (1)
Beyond the Social Construction of Childhood (2)
Children as Social Actors: Individual and collective Agency, interdependence and relationships
Young people as Sexual Citizens: Empowerment, Participation and Regulation
Young People, Family and Generation: Semi-autonomy, Interdependence and Family Dynamics
Children, Family and the State: Children' voice, participation and citizenships
Current trends in the constitution of childhood and youth: Individualization, Globalization and Children's Rights
Integrating multi-disciplinary perspectives in the study of children and young people

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours276.00
Total Contact hours24.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Private study

This module will require students to engage with the paradigmatic shifts in the understanding of children and young people. Students will be expected to do specified reading and other tasks in preparation for the sessions (including the seminars). Students will also be expected to undertake private study, drawing on and exploring the wider reading indicated for the module, and seeking guidance from tutors, especially for the completion of assessment tasks.
Activities and resources will be available via the Virtual Learning Environment.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Formative assessment is conducted during the activities and discussion conducted in the weekly sessions and in the three seminar discussions. These will enable students to ask questions, clarify issues and the tutor to monitor student progress. Specific support for the assessment assignment will be provided in the final seminar and in one-to-one meetings between tutors and students.

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1 x 3000 word assignment50.00
Essay1 x 3000 word assignment50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 23/09/2021


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