What is a Child? Discuss how a scientific, a social constructionist and an applied approach attempt to answer this question.
This essay will attempt to discuss how sociologists have attempted to answer the question. Childhood is viewed differently, depending on the country being considered, the period of time being studied or a personal viewpoint. According to the UN convention, a child is anybody under the age of eighteen. Several studies have been undertaken by sociologists to examine childhood. This essay will attempt to discuss three major approaches: 1) a scientific approach tries to study this objectively by observation and experimentation to prove a theory. This essay will discuss Kohlberg’s theory of “Moral development”. It will not include Piaget’s theory as Kohlberg’s theory used Paiget’s theory as a building block to his theory. 2) A social constructionist approach studies this by exploring social and cultural beliefs. The two discourses are the Romantic and Puritan discourses. 3) And an applied approach draws on both the scientific and social constructionist theories and uses the studies to understand the practicalities of Children’s rights through law, policies, and professional practices and the children themselves. The models used are the justice and the welfare model.
The Scientific theory researches and endeavours to establish objective facts by using experimentation and observation. It follows mainly three stages of activities, 1) forming a concept that explains the facets of child development. 2) Formulates predictions from these concepts and then finally 3) tests these predictions through research, explanation and assessments. One such scientist was Kohlberg and his theory of Moral development. Kohlberg based his ideas on Piaget’s theory of cognitive development. He categorised these into three main levels with two stages at each level.
1. Punishment – obedience – When you do wrong you are punished and when you obey you are rewarded
2. Self-gratification – Doing good or bad is to do with satisfying your requirements
1. Interpersonal concordance - being good is about being loyal to people who love and care for you.
2. Law and order - Obeying the law and following rules which may be cultural or religious
1. Social contract - Being considerate and caring about others
2. Universal ethical principle – is conscience driven and is determined by our ethical principles.
The Reliability of Kohlberg's testing is questionable. (Woolfolk, A.E) questioned if all researchers assess a child’s moral levels in the same way. Is moral logic the same moral behaviour? Critics question if the answer to problems that a person...