This module sets out to investigate the theories and approaches relevant to the study of embodied childhoods and youth. Students are presented with opportunities to view children and young people's bodies from a variety of perspectives sociology, anthropology, social policy, history and human geography, and to critically examine how these theoretical approaches and concepts relate to the bodies and lived realities of children and young people. Topics to be explored in the module include: bodies in the school and classroom, technology and cyberbodies, pregnancy and women’s rights to their bodies, body modification, sexualisation and pornified bodies, disabled bodies, gendered bodies, bodies in the media, and children and young people’s fashion and dress.
The module will encourage students to view the body as simultaneously as biological and social, a site of structure and agency and as a location through which wider social processes, discourses and culture can be explored. Students will consider how the corporeal body is used to define childhood and how explanations of children and young people's bodies, previously considered within the context of normative biological development, are instead at the heart of a theoretical framework emphasising the social construction of childhood and the cultural and historical variability of meanings surrounding children and young people's bodies. Students will also be encouraged to explore the physical body as a site of agency, part of individual self identity and subject to use as an expressive form.
Bodies are considered as both a fixed and changeable feature of the human experience with explicit attention paid to the specific factors and issues distinct to the bodies and thus everyday lives of children and young people.
The module also highlights to students strategies for independent learning, enquiry and critical reflection, as empowering vehicles for their intellectual development.