A sliver of context for your next readings:

Philippe Ariès changed the way we look at childhood. When "Centuries of Childhood" was published in 1960 it sparked a flood of research on a previously unexplored subject. Joan Acocella's brief article in the New Yorker ("other resources") tracks Ariès influence and summarizes the latest trends of childhood studies.

The three volume History of the European Family is an attempt to fill the empirical gap that Ariès' theoretical work exposed. Loftur Guttormsson's chapter on parent-child relations offers research findings that will help you to critically analyze Ariès' view of childhood.

The following questions are meant to guide your reading. Please feel free to go beyond these questions when you write your reaction paper.

1. What is childhood according to Ariès? How did it come into being? How does he know? How does Ariès view modern attitudes towards children? Why?

2. How does the information provided in
Loftur Guttormsson's chapter confirm or challenge Ariès' position? How does Guttormsson know what he knows?