Childhood as a Structural Form

  • Jens Qvortrup


The twin concepts ‘structure’ and ‘agency’ have served philosophy and social science since time immemorial — occasionally under other names, perhaps. It is a commonplace to suggest, for instance, that social change is the result of the interplay between structural conditions, on one hand, and conscious and deliberate human interventions, on the other. The strength relation between the two largely determines the direction and rapidity of social change and it is thus of continuous interest to look for the relationship between structural forces and human agency, with the purpose of striking a balance. At the same time, it is a contested issue that almost unavoidably produces rigid fronts behind which either ‘determinists’ or ‘voluntarists’ barricade themselves — that is, at least, often the perception and mutual accusations of the adversaries.


Structural Form Structural Term Generational Unit Gender Group Childhood Study 
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© Jens Qvortrup 2009

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  • Jens Qvortrup

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