What do children know about work, careers, and related topics? What is the pattern of growth in values, attitudes, beliefs, and knowledge? Using quantitative and anecdotal evidence gathered from interviewing over 900 grade-school students in five New Jersey communities, the authors analyze childhood socialization to the concept of work.
Existing literature on this topic focuses on the critical years of oc-cupational choice. But Goldstein and Oldham strongly suggest that much of the child's work-related development has already occurred prior to entry into secondary school, and that "career educa-tion" must receive increased em-phasis during the elementary years. Their evidence corroborates the pattern of rapid progress to-ward childhood awareness of im-portant social phenomena such as war, politics, race, gender roles, and economics. By the seventh grade, children have an awareness in these areas that approximates that of adults. Traditional stereo-types concerning appropriate work roles for women continue to exist at the elementary school level.
This work is a comprehensive, empirical treatment of childhood socialization to work, fitting neat-ly into the growing body of litera-ture on the socialization of the child into various political, eco-nomic, and social roles. Children and Work is in the sociological tradition, but the findings are pre-sented in the context of a growing body of social science research on early socialization.
Table of Contents
List of Tables, Acknowledgements, CHAPTER, 1. Origins, Foci, and Procedures, Three Sources of Concern with Socialization to Work, Work Orientations: Some Conceptual Clarifications, Three Paths to Follow, Research Procedures, Four Focal Themes, 2. Children’s Knowledge ofthe World of Work, Children’s Grasp of Basic Economic and Commercial Relationships, Recognition of the General Role of Work in Social Life, Children’s Knowledge of Specific Work-Related Phenomena, Children’s Awareness of Occupational Role Models, Children’s Work and Earning Experiences, Summary, 3. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Childhood, Children’s Evaluation of Work, Children’s Aspirations, Children’s Savings Habits, Summary and Conclusions, 4. Affective Work Orientations and Sex-Typing, Children’s Work-Related "Likes” and "Dislikes”, Occupational Sex-Typing in Childhood, Summary, 5. Children’s Awareness of Social Class, Children’s Perceptions of Social Class, Class Awareness as a Principle of Perceptual Organization, Summary and Conclusions, 6. Children’s Conception of Work: An Overview, Children and Work: A General Summary, Implications of Findings, Bibliography, Index
Bernard Goldstein, Jack Oldham