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ERIC Number: ED403046
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1996
Pages: 16
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
The Century of the Child, Part II: Back to the Future or Forward to the Past?
Ronnberg, Margareta
In 1900, the Swedish writer and social commentator Ellen Key published a book called "The Century of the Child," presenting changes she believed were necessary in the care of children in the twentieth century. This article examines the reality of childhood and child care in Sweden, comparing Key's wishes to both actual changes and current attitudes. It concludes that the conditions of children's lives have changed so profoundly that it is questionable whether the ideals of "the century of the child" have any relevance when discussing childhood today. For example, although corporal punishment and mandatory Christian education have been abandoned, the number of mothers working outside the home--and consequently, the number of day care facilities--has grown enormously, contrary to Key's hopes, and there is no indication that people would reverse the trend. The article claims that childhood today is more public and more participatory; that children are less dependent on parents and more dependent on other adults; and that they are less irresponsible and mentally segregated from the adult world (due largely to the mass media). The article also discusses the conflict of values when childhood is regarded as a transition to "future adulthood," as opposed to a culture unto itself, and advocates that adults allow children a free space to use childhood cultural products and experiences as they will. Finally, the article urges a reconsideration of the definition of childhood and adulthood as opposite states (a model of relations in which one party is weak and the other strong), adopting instead a view of human relations as siblinghood. Contains nine references. (EV)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Sweden