- Hardcover: 480 pages
- Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (December 22, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0521887739
- ISBN-13: 978-0521887731
- Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.3 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 29 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,361,121 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Anthropology of Childhood: Cherubs, Chattel, Changelings 1st Edition
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In this comprehensive and delightful book, Lancy weaves his encyclopedic knowledge of the field of childhood across cultures into a series of thought-provoking essays that capture the wide range of children's experience around the world. As he interprets the cultural meanings that organize their daily lives, he simultaneously performs a comprehensive cultural analysis of middle-class American childhood and parenting. This book is unique in that it will be of great value to scholars and their students across the fields of anthropology, sociology, psychology, and education, but also of great interest to parents and policy makers who want to see themselves and others more clearly.' Suzanne Gaskins, Professor of Psychology, Northeastern Illinois University 'Through his expansive integration of the anthropological literature, Lancy has moved the field forward towards a holistic and unified perspective on children and childhood. I can think of no other work that at once exemplifies such depth and breadth. This visionary focus joins theoretical perspectives heretofore considered disparate in a synthetic framework that redefines the anthropology of childhood.' John Bock, Professor of Anthropology, California State University 'David Lancy has produced a finely nuanced, beautifully written and comprehensive account of children's lives and the meanings that adults give to childhood. Delightfully illustrated and drawing on insights from anthropology, psychology, sociology and history his book is essential for anyone interested in cross-cultural studies of childhood.' Dr Heather Montgomery, Senior Lecturer in Childhood Studies, The Open University 'Through his expansive integration of the anthropological literature, Lancy has moved the field forward towards a holistic and unified perspective on children and childhood. I can think of no other work that at once exemplifies such depth and breadth. This visionary focus joins theoretical perspectives heretofore considered disparate in a synthetic framework that redefines the anthropology of childhood.' Human Nature 'In this work of stunning insight and signal importance, David Lancy frees us from constricted, culture-bound conceptions of childhood, illustrating the extraordinarily diverse forms that children's development has taken. By dismantling narrowly ethnocentric notions of what constitutes a normal childhood, he allows us to envision alternatives to the overpressured, overorganized, overcommercialized world that today's middle-class children inhabit.' Steven Mintz, University of Houston, author of Huck's Raft: A History of American Childhood 'What is it like to be a child in a culture very different from our own? What is it like to be a parent? David Lancy's fascinating book is essential reading for anyone who thinks there is only one proper way to rear a child. Parenting practices, we learn, vary tremendously from one culture to another, but children are pretty much the same the world around. Wherever they live and whatever chores they are assigned, children manage to find time to play with other children.' Judith Rich Harris, author of The Nurture Assumption and No Two Alike 'A wonderful, unique, and essential advance in our understanding of humankind. Anyone who cares about children (in fact, anyone who wants to understand their own life and modern society) should read this book.' Alan Fiske, Professor of Anthropology, Director, Center for Culture, Brain, UCLA
" an excellent reference for scholars of childhood, both within and, more importantly, outside of anthropology." --American Journal of Human Biology (2010) 22:140–141
"will provide essential reading for a broad audience interested in how children are imagined and treated in different societies as well as in different historical epochs." --Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (2010) 16, 171-173.
Bringing together key evidence from cultural anthropology, history, and primate studies, Lancy introduces the reader to societies where children are viewed as unwanted, inconvenient 'changelings'. Enriched with vivid anecdotes, evocative photographs and written in a politically balanced style, this class-tested text is a must-read for students and practitioners alike.
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The book is definitely scholarly. It's not easy reading. However, it is filled with details, and goes far beyond any popular book I've ever read on the subject. Be prepared to spend many days reading this book. Perhaps weeks, unless you are totally focused on the subject.
My own criticism is that there is much less about fathers than about mothers. Yes, I know that in most societies, fathers are almost totally uninvolved in child-rearing especially in the early years. However, I would have liked to read more.
This is a substantial meal. It is well worth grazing on in chunks, over a period of time. You won't regret it.