Volume 1 – 2009 (0003)

Infância, Modernidade e Mudança

Manuel Jacinto Sarmento 1

1 Instituto de Estudos da Criança, University of Minho, Portugal

To cite this text:

Sarmento, M. J. (2009), Infância, Modernidade e Mudança, Percursos & Ideias, Vol. 1, pp. 27-31.

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The study of childhood explores the difference between childhood (as a social group with specific characteristics) and the existence or not of affection for children. Travelling back to the middle ages a little boy was seen as a man in miniature and a little girl was expected to behave like a little woman. More than the age was the type and status that defined what was expected. We can say then that the existence of a social group called «childhood» is defined by the social status that is given and by the value given to the child. This can be demonstrated by the creation of the school institution. But the paradoxes do not end here. This greater importance given to the child isn’t many times accompanied by a greater understanding of its behaviours. What has been verified until today is the existence of aspects that reveal signs of a slow social construction, a journey to a new reality, which is linked to the changes in the conditions of life and mentalities.


Generational category, Status, Socialisation, Institutionalisation, Deprive, Change.