The Social Differentiation of Children

Special Report: The Social Differentiation of Children
By Wilfried Lignier, Cédric Lomba, Nicolas Renahy

Childhood is not a usual domain for social sciences by contrast with clinical or medical sciences. But they can bring important inputs to the study of children, particularly in looking at childhood as a historical identity, as a critical moment of socialization, and as a differentiated social reality. This last perspective is the main focus of this paper as it has the advantage of not excluding the two others. The paper refers to a differentiated historicization and socialization of childhood. According to us, the analysis of social differentiation of children is articulated on at least three pillars: the “concrete” differentiation of childhoods, the differential identification of children, and the childhood perception of social differences. We also point out several methodological problems especially linked with the research on children.

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