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

  • Allison James


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.


Separatist Policy Cultural Myth Birthday Parti Modern Childhood Physical Ageing Process 
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© Allison James 2005

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  • Allison James

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