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Transcript

Childrearing across cultures

Session one

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Introduction

One of the fundamental strengths of sociology is its ability to encourage us to look beyond the perspectives and assumptions of the social class, ethnic group, or society to which we belong.This module uses a sociological comparative method in which to critically understand childrearing practices throughout the world.

Childrearing across cultures

A sociological viewpoint

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ComparativeResearch

ComparativeExample

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Aims & Objectives

Aim:Understand the socially constructed nature of childrearing.Objectives:Identify relevant sociological concepts to appreciate notions of childrearing beyond a eurocentric perspective.Explore comparative strategies for research.Compare societal attitudes to childrearing.Apply comparative research strategies to examples of childrearing.Evaluate comparative models of childrearing.

Childrearing across cultures

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ComparativeResearch

ComparativeExample

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Introduction

Comparative research involvescomparing groups andsocieties. Although using different methods, comparative strategies were usedby all of sociology's founding figures: Marx, Durkheim, Weber and Comte.Click on each icon to find out more about each of these founding figures sociological perspectives.

Comparative research

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An example

Durkheim employed the comparative method in his classic study of suicide and went as far as to say that the comparative method is 'Sociology itself'.In this study, Durkheim collected the statistics of suicide in the various areas of France, and of other European countries. Durkheim claimed to show how suicide rates vary systematically with the rates of other social phenomena, such as religious belief, marital status and urban or rural living.

Comparative research

Watch this video foran insight into Durkheim's comparative method and his understanding of suicide.

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Margaret Mead: Comparative method& childrearing

Cross-cultural comparison is also at the centre of the kind of research that social anthropologists engage in, where, for example, patterns of kinship might be compared across a number of societies. One of the most famous examples of the comparative method is Margaret Mead's anthropological studies of three islands in the Pacific, which examined to what extent gender roles and childrearing practices are universal and to what extent they are the product of culture and socialization.

Comparative research

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Margaret Mead

Margaret Mead on gender roles and childrearingIn her first study,Coming of Age in Samoa (1928), Mead observed that Samoan children moved with relative ease into the adult world of sexuality and work, in contrast to children in the United States, where lingering Victorian restraints on sexual behavior and the increasing separation of children from the productive world made youth a needlessly difficult time. Westerners’ deep-seated belief in innate femininity and masculinity served only to compound these troubles.In Sex and Temperament(1935), Mead describes the widely varying temperaments exhibited by men and women in different cultures, from the nurturing men of the Arapesh tribe to the violent women of the Mundugumor. In each case, Mead maintained that social convention, not biology, determines how people behave.In Male and Female (1949), Mead analyzed the ways in which motherhood serves to reinforce male and female roles in all societies. She continued to emphasize the possibility of resisting traditional gender stereotypes.Mead tried to persuade Americans that understanding the lives of other people could help them understand their own, that a greater ease with sexuality (homosexual as well as heterosexual) could enrich them, that motherhood and careers could and should go together, and that building support networks for the overburdened nuclear family would bring greater well-being for all.

United Kingdom & Japan

Sociology teachers and students can gain a great deal from looking at comparable international statistical data and research studies They can also, in an informal way, make comparisons between their own society and societies they visit on holidays, educational visits, and exchanges. By way of cross-cultural comparisons we will be looking at Japan and the UK and the socialisation process of children.

Comparative Example

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Japan and the United Kingdom was chosen because both are affluent, post-industrial ‘democracies’ with a well-educated workforce, yet there are striking contrasts. Japan is a country where norms, values, and traditions are deeply shared. There is a powerful consensus about how things should be and how they should be done, to an extent that is not found in the UK or the United States. Social conflict is relatively rare(Kuperard 2001).The kind of social role and personal identity that Japanese children learn is radically different from what British society teaches. Social obligation is at the centre of Japanese socialization (Kondo 1990).

United Kingdom and Japan

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The Japanese expend considerable time doing things for the sake of good relationships, regardless of their 'inner feelings’ (Kondo 1990).Japanese children are taught that personal desires and ambitions, which might disturb collective equilibrium, should be kept in check . Given this focus on good relations, the Japanese are much more likely to talk about themselves in relation to others (Kitagama 1991).To an extent this is also true of some immigrant communities within western societies.

Japanese Culture

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View this case study to gain an understanding of the differences between Japanese and British children's upbringing and behaviour.

As we have seen in our comparative example, the process of understanding the differences involved in child rearing is important if we are to work with children and their families effectively.You are now required to conduct a comparative study of childrearing practices in two different cultures: the USA and Japan.To begin with, engage with the given research material by pressing the button below. What can you find out about childrearing in these two socieites? Conduct further research and add additional relevant items (text, links, videos et cetera) to inform your peers research.

Research Activity

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After engaging with a range of resources here,you will be asked to analyse and evaluate your research on the next page.

After conducting comparative research between USA and Japanese childrearing cultures, you are required to write a short essay on the following:A critical comparison of the differences between childrearing practices in the USA and Japan.You will be expected to identify key differences between USA and Japanese practices of childrearing within your essay.You will also required to evaluate the potential benefits and limitations of both childrearing cultures.Your essay will be 2000 words in length.

Research Analysis

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Press here to accessan essay template

Click here if you wish to access support on critical writing

Upload your essay within the space below this session. You can also upload your essay by pressing the button here.

Research Review

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During this session, we have addressed the following objectives:We have identified relevant sociological concepts to appreciate notions of childrearing beyond a eurocentric perspective.We have explored comparative strategies for research.We have compared societal attitudes to childrearing.We have applied comparative research strategies to examples of childrearing.Finally, we have evaluated comparative models of childrearing.To complete this session, press the button below to test your understanding of the socially constructed nature of childrearing across different cultures.

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