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The Ecology of ChildhoodHow Our Changing World Threatens Children's Rights$
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Barbara Bennett Woodhouse

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780814794845

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814794845.001.0001

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Tools for Studying Childhood

Tools for Studying Childhood

(p.14) 2 Tools for Studying Childhood
The Ecology of Childhood

Barbara Bennett Woodhouse

NYU Press

Chapter two discusses the models, methods and value metrics used in this book. It presents the ecological model developed by sociologist Urie Bronfenbrenner, which places the child at the center of overlapping and intersecting microsystems (e.g., family, school, peer group) where children’s daily lives unfold. Encircling these microsystems are layers of exosystems (e.g., healthcare, justice systems and labor markets) where children may rarely go but that powerfully affect them. Surrounding and permeating the entire ecological diagram are macrosystemic forces, defined as the dominant ideas, values, prejudices, and powers of the surrounding society. The primary methods or frameworks for analysis deployed in the book are comparative legal method, sociology, ethnography and an environmentalist perspective, incorporating ideas like sustainability and the precautionary principle of avoiding harm. However, evaluating outcomes requires identifying a value system. Drawing on the work of Erik Erikson, the book proposes ecogenerism, a value system that treats the meeting of children’s essential needs and the welfare of succeeding generations as the paramount goals of society. The chapter closes with a description of how and why the two villages, Scanno, Italy and Cedar Key, Florida, were chosen to serve as petri dishes for comparative ethnographic study.

Keywords:   Ecological Model, Methods, Value System, Bronfenbrenner, Comparative legal method, Ethnography, Sociology, Environmentalist, Ecogenerism

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