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Unit information: Children in Society II: Children and Contemporary Society in 2016/17

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Unit name Children in Society II: Children and Contemporary Society
Unit code SOWK10002
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Aghtaie
Open unit status Open




School/department School for Policy Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

This unit will critically analyse the various international perspectives on children and young people’s (CYP) place in contemporary society. These perspectives will be examined through reference to theoretical debates on various substantive topics including: concepts of childhood; parenting; children’s rights; CYPs access to their rights; family policies; the impact of global poverty; models of education; health, environment and risk in relation to CYP; power, punishment and crime; young people and violence; and input from the NSPCC.

There will be a particular emphasis on children’s rights on a local, national and international level. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and children’s rights and welfare under UK law will be examined in addition to looking at policies, laws and practices in the European and wider context.


  • To consider the diverse nature of childrens experiences and place in society
  • To consider contemporary debates about childrens needs, rights and responsibilities.
  • To consider the relationship between the state, parents and CYP;
  • To consider the ways in which differing perspectives on childhood are reflected in policy, allocation of resources and responsibilities between parents and children.

Intended Learning Outcomes

After successful completion of the unit, the student will be able to demonstrate:

  • an understanding of the diversity in children’s lives and experiences,
  • an awareness of the main contemporary theories and debates on children’s rights, needs and responsibilities,
  • an ability to draw on interdisciplinary knowledge to analyse some of the ways in which differing perspectives on childhood will be reflected in state policies and allocation of resources and in approaches to research and theory in this area.

There will be an emphasis throughout on children’s rights

Teaching Information

Lectures and classes. Group investigation and presentation of an assigned topic. Group activities/ exercises.

Assessment Information

Formative: a one hour 'practice exam' to assess and support the students' preparations for the summative assessment.

Summative (100%): a three hour exam which will enable the students to meet the intended learning outcomes for the unit.

All assessment is marked against the published marking criteria for that level, as stated in the Programme handbook.

Reading and References

Children’s Rights Alliance for England (2013) State of Children’s Rights in England, London: CRAE, available at

Freeman, M. (2011) ‘Children’s Rights as Human Rights: Reading the UNCRC’, in J. Qvortrup, W. Corsaro and M.S. Honig (eds) The Palgrave Handbook of Childhood Studies, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp377-393

James, A. and James, A. (2008) Key Concepts in Childhood Studies. London:Sage. [Q767.9 JAM]

Jones, P. & Welch, S. (2010) Rethinking Children’s Rights: Attitudes in Contemporary Society, London: Continuum

Kehily, M. (Ed.) (2004) An Introduction to Childhood Studies. Maidenhead: Open University Press. [HQ767.9 INT]

Maynard, T. and Thomas, N. (Eds.) (2009) An Introduction to Early Childhood Studies (2nd Edition). London: Sage

Montgomery, H. (2010) ‘The Rights of the Child. Rightfully Mine!’, in D. Kassem, L. Murphy and E. Taylor (eds) Key Issues in Childhood and Youth Studies, London; Routledge, pp149-158,

Qvortrup, J. et al. (2011) The Palgrave Handbook of Childhood Studies. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Key Websites

“Article 12”:

Children are Unbeatable Alliance:

Children’s Rights Alliance

International Bureau for Children’s Rights



Save the Children