University of Notre Dame

Becoming Kids Next Door: A Sociology of Children and Childhood

Course Number: SOC 13181-1
Instructor: Jessica L. Collett

Childhood is often depicted as a carefree time, when play takes center stage. In reality, we learn a tremendous amount about our social world and our selves during this developmental period. In this course, we will revisit childhood from a sociological perspective. Coupling childhood games, cartoons, books, and more with sociological theories, methods, and research, we will explore childhood together. You will learn about how various influential institutions—from parents and families to schools and the media—socialize children and how dimensions like race, class, and gender shape the experience of childhood. You will also discover the agentic role children take in creating and navigating their social lives, ultimately playing a large part in their own socialization, while coming to understand the immense power our culture has on the feelings, thoughts, and behavior of some of its youngest members.