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Ethical Research Involving Children

Towards a sociology of childhood: Thinking from children’s lives.

Mayall, B. (2002). Towards a sociology of childhood: Thinking from children’s lives. Maidenhead: Open University Press. ISBN: 9-780-33520-8425.

Publisher’s Description: This important book moves the sociology of childhood forward. Berry Mayall argues, that, since childhood is a permanent component of society, in order to understand how society works, we must take account of children as well as adults, otherwise our explanation omits an important social group. Children’s lives are shaped by policies and practices, but they are also agents, who make a life for themselves through their relationships with adults and other children. This book argues that feminist theory and practice is useful for understanding childhood; we should start from the children’s own accounts to show how the organisation of social relations provides an explanation for their social position. This is a political book: through analysis of children’s own descriptions and evaluations of childhood, it argues for an improved social status of childhood, including respecting children’s rights. The book also shows that in order to understand childhood we must take account of both child-adult relations (generational relations) and gender relations. It is essential reading for childhood sociologists and feminists, and for all those seeking to raise the social status of childhood. It is highly recommended to students of childhood studies, at all levels. (Publisher’s description reproduced with the kind permission of McGraw-Hill Education / Open University Press. All rights reserved.)

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