The Future of Childhood  book cover
1st Edition

The Future of Childhood

Edited By

Alan Prout

ISBN 9780415256759
Published January 21, 2005 by Routledge
184 Pages

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Book Description

In this ground-breaking book, Alan Prout discusses the place of children and childhood in modern society. He critically examines 'the new social studies of childhood', reconsidering some of its key assumptions and positions and arguing that childhood is heterogeneous and complex. The study of childhood requires a broad set of intellectual resources and an interdisciplinary approach. Chapters include:

  • the changing social and cultural character of contemporary childhood and the weakening boundary between adulthood and childhood
  • a look back at the emergence of childhood studies in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries
  • the nature/culture dichotomy
  • the role of material artefacts and technologies in the construction of contemporary childhood.

This book is essential reading for students and academics in the field of childhood studies, sociology and education.



Alan Prout is Professor of Sociology and Director of the ESRC Children 5-16 Programme, University of Stirling.


'A short book of formidable intelligence.' -  Times Educational Supplement

'The Future of Childhood [is] an interesting mediation on what exactly the 'child' is that lies at the heart of research on children and childhood, and its attempt to break down the culture-nature binary by actually engaging with science certainly offers something new to contemporary debates on this much larger question.' - Children's Geographies

'This book studies in great detail the role and place of children and childhood in contemporary and future society. Due to profound social, demographic and economic changes, the social context and circumstances in which children grow up today have become very diverse. The new complexity of (modern) life has had great impact on the life of children. Prout takes this as the basis from which to rethink the methods of and theoretical approaches to childhood studies.'

- Journal of Contemporary European Studies, Vol. 14, No. 2, 273–313, August 2006

'This theoretically sophisticated book provides excellent resources and arguments for the debate on childhood and childhood studies today and in the future.' - Nicole Klinkhammer, Youth Welfare Service, Munich, Germany