Life Times: Children’s Perspectives on Age, Agency and Memory across the Life Course

  • Allison James

Abstract

There is — or at least there used to be — an English saying that ‘your school days are the best days of your life’ and as such, this phrase forms part of the contemporary mythologizing of childhood in England. This widely portrays childhood as a time of happiness, as a time for being carefree and innocent, a time when the world’s woes are held at bay (Gittens, 1998). In this chapter, however, I use the term mythology more deliberately, recalling Roland Barthes’s (1976) usage to describe the stories or ‘myths’ that are told about life events and which, in time, become motifs around which particular complexes of ideas are strung or through which particular personae emerge. These cultural myths, which we tell ourselves or which are told to us, he suggests, provide schemas for our thinking and a charter for our actions.

Keywords

Hull Alan Summing Cora Dynamite 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Antze, P. and M. Lambeck (eds) (1996) Tense Past: Cultural Essays in Trauma and Memory, London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  2. Ariès, P. (1962) Centuries of Childhood, London: Jonathan Cape.Google Scholar
  3. Barthes, R. (1976) Mythologies, London: Paladin.Google Scholar
  4. Bytheway, B. (1995) Ageism, Buckingham: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Chamberlayne, P., J. Bornat and T. Wengraf (eds) (2000) The Turn to Biographical Methods in the Social Sciences, London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  6. Christensen, P. (1999) Towards an Anthropology of Childhood Sickness: an Ethnographic Study of Danish School Children, unpublished PhD thesis, University of Hull.Google Scholar
  7. Christensen, P. and A. James (2000) Research with Children, London: Falmer.Google Scholar
  8. Gillis, J.R. (1996) A World of their Own Making, Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Gittens, D. (1998) The Child in Question, Basingstoke: Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hockey, J. and A. James (2002) Social Identities across the Life Course, London: Palgrave.Google Scholar
  11. James, A. (1993) Childhood Identities, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.Google Scholar
  12. James, A. (2005, forthcoming) ‘The Standardized Child: Issues of Openness, Objectivity and Agency in Promoting Child Health’, Anthropological Journal on European Cultures.Google Scholar
  13. James, A. and A.L. James (2004) Constructing Childhood: Theory, Policy and Social Practice, London: Palgrave.Google Scholar
  14. James, A.L., A. James and S. McNamee (2004) ‘Turn Down the Volume? — Not Hearing Children in Family Proceedings’, Child and Family Law Quarterly, 16 (2): 189–203. Jenkins, R. (1996) Social Identity, London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  15. Jenks, C. (1996) Childhood, London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  16. Lee, N. (2001) Childhood and Society, Buckingham: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Mayall, B. (2002) Towards a Sociology of Childhood, Buckingham: Open University Press. Radstone, S. (ed.) (2000) Memory and Methodology, Oxford: Berg.Google Scholar
  18. Rapport, N. (2003) I am Dynamite: an Alternative Anthropology of Power, London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  19. Steedman, C. (1982) The Tidy House, London: Virago.Google Scholar
  20. Woodhead, M. (1996) ‘In Search of the Rainbow: Pathways to Quality in Large-scale Programmes for Young Disadvantaged Children’, Early Childhood Development: Practice and Reflections, 10, The Hague: Bernard van Leer Foundation.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Allison James 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Allison James

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations