Fertility rates have fallen dramatically around the world. In some countries, there are no longer enough children being born to replace adult populations. The disappearance of children is a matter of concern matched only by fears that childhood is becoming too structured or not structured enough, too short or too long, or just simply too different from the idealized childhoods of the past.
The End of Children? brings together scholars who draw on their expertise in multiple disciplines – sociology, demography, history, anthropology, family studies, social work, and education – to provide a more balanced, less alarmist perspective on the meanings and implications of these issues. Contrary to predictions of the end of children and the end of childhood, their investigations of developments in Canada and the United States, and to a lesser extent elsewhere in the world, show that fertility rates and ideas about children and childhood are not uniform but rather vary around the globe based on factors such as time, culture, class, income, and age.
These timely explorations of how changing ideas about the child are reshaping when and why people have children and how they choose to raise them opens a new dialogue on the production and place of children in modern society.
This volume will be of interest to students, researchers, policy makers, and practitioners from a range of disciplines, from population health and child welfare to history, demography, and policy studies.
The place of children and how we regard them, whether through government policies, educational practices, or personal choices, is a pressing social issue, taken up with sensitivity in this volume. The End of Children? successfully combines the expertise of scholars from different fields and is unique in its twinning of declining fertility rates and varying conceptions of childhood. It makes an important contribution to the scholarship on children, across a number of disciplines and geographic boundaries.
Nathanael Lauster is an assistant professor of sociology at the University of British Columbia. Graham Allan is professor emeritus of sociology at Keele University in the United Kingdom.
Contributors: Graham Allan, Anita Ilta Garey, Mona Gleason, Edward Kruk, Nathanael Lauster, Megan Lemmon, Todd F. Martin, Adena B.K. Miller, Jay Teachman, Nicholas W. Townsend, Rebecca L. Upton, James M. White, Mira Whyman, and Jing Zhao.
Introduction / Nathanael Lauster and Graham Allan
1 Fertility Change in North America, 1950-2000 / Mira Whyman, Megan Lemmon, and Jay Teachman
2 Changing Children and Changing Cultures: Immigration as a Source of Fertility and the Assumptions of Assimilation / Nathanael Lauster, Todd F. Martin, and James M. White
3 Using Infertility, Useful Fertility: Cultural Imperatives on the Value of Children in the United States / Rebecca L. Upton
4 The Performance of Motherhood and Fertility Decline: A Stage Props Approach / Nathanael Lauster
5 Parenthood, Immortality, and the End of Childhood / Nicholas W. Townsend
6 Leaving Home: An Example of the Disappearance of Childhood and Its End as a Predictable Set of Uniform Experiences / Adena B.K. Miller
7 The Disappearance of Parents from Children’s Lives: The Cumulative Effects of Child Care, Child Custody, and Child Welfare Policies in Canada / Edward Kruk
8 Navigating the Pedagogy of Failure: Medicine, Education, and the Disabled Child in English Canada, 1900-45 / Mona Gleason
9 Pathologizing Childhood / Anita Ilta Garey
Conclusion: From Children to Child: Ending in China / Jing Zhao, Nathanael Lauster, and Graham Allan
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