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Childhood and Its Discontents: The First Seamus Heaney Lectures

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Childhood and Its Discontents: The First Seamus Heaney Lectures

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An insightful collection of essays on the nature of childhood today.


Today there is heightened sensitivity to the needs and rights of children. At the same time, strong pressures tend toward the creation of a less child-friendly society. While children are now more prized than ever, shocking revelations have also brought unprecedented awareness of the extent to which they have been abused by adults in positions of authority and trust. Greater appreciation of ambivalence and contradiction in attitudes towards, and treatment of, children points to the need for more searching inquiry into the nature of childhood and the complex dynamics through which different childhoods are constructed by adults.

Childhood and its Discontents aims to advance this inquiry and will be of particular interest to parents, educators and policy-makers. By bringing together perspectives from psychology, sociology, history and philosophy, the book is intended as a contribution to greater understanding of children themselves and of adults imaginative and emotional investments in them. Such understanding, not least of adult failure and neglect, may provide a basis for more enlightened policies towards childhood and greater wellbeing for children.

The essays collected here were first delivered as lectures in the inaugural Seamus Heaney Lectures Series at St. Patricks College, Dublin. This is a biennial series, in which distinguished scholars in education and the humanities, from Ireland and abroad, address topics of central concern to the general public.

About the Editors

s Joseph Dunne teaches Philosophy and co-ordinates the Human Development programme in the Education Department at St. Patricks College. James Kelly is Head of the History Department, St Patricks College.

Additional Information

Additional Information

Author No
Editor James Kelly, Joseph Dunne
Print Format Paperback
ISBN-10 1-904148-17-5
ISBN-13 n/a
Illustrations No
Date of Publication June 2003
Number of Pages 250

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