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PS10120: Representations of childhood and youth

[Page last updated: 04 August 2021]

Academic Year: 2021/2
Owning Department/School: Department of Psychology
Credits: 6 [equivalent to 12 CATS credits]
Notional Study Hours: 120
Level: Certificate (FHEQ level 4)
Semester 1
Assessment Summary: EX 100%
Assessment Detail:
  • Examination (EX 100%)
Supplementary Assessment:
Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Aims: The aims of the course are as follows:
* To familiarise students with the historical background to recent western conceptions of childhood and youth.
* To introduce different psychological and sociological approaches to the study of childhood and youth.
* To provide students with an understanding of different approaches to the representation of childhood and youth through a focus on several key issues and controversies.

Learning Outcomes: On completing this unit students should be able to:
* recognise different theoretical perspectives on child and youth in psychology and related social sciences.
* demonstrate systematic knowledge and critical understanding of these different theoretical perspectives.
* demonstrate systematic knowledge and critical understanding of evidence from empirical research on childhood, youth and adolescence.
* demonstrate knowledge of the implications of academic research on childhood and youth for debates in the popular domain.

Skills: On completing this unit students should be able to:
* demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the topics focused on in this unit, in particular the historical context to current western conceptions of childhood, adolescence and youth; and key theoretical perspectives and empirical research evidence on childhood and youth in psychology and related social sciences (T/F A)
* recognise the potential implications of key theoretical perspectives and empirical research evidence on childhood and youth for issues and debates in the popular domain (T/F, A).
* apply theoretical notions to practical problems and phenomena. (T/F A)
* plan and organise the study activities that are required in this unit, take charge of his or her own learning, and can reflect and evaluate personal strengths and weaknesses for the purpose of future learning. (T/F A)

Content: The following is a brief outline of the topics that will be covered:
1. The historical context: including the invention of childhood innocence and the discovery of adolescence.
2. Theoretical perspectives on childhood and youth: including child and adolescent development; the sociology of youth transitions; youth cultural studies; and the sociology of childhood.
3. Key issues in current research: including gender, race and class dimensions of childhood and youth; the international context; children and young people's uses of media and new technologies; the eroticisation of childhood and the age of consent debate; and Angels and Devils: the James Bulger case.

Programme availability:

PS10120 is Compulsory on the following programmes:

Department of Education
  • UHED-AFB12 : BA(Hons) Education with Psychology (Year 1)
  • UHED-AKB12 : BA(Hons) Education with Psychology with Professional Placement (Year 1)


  • This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2021/22 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2022/23 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2021/22.
  • Programmes and units are subject to change in accordance with normal University procedures.
  • Availability of units will be subject to constraints such as staff availability, minimum and maximum group sizes, and timetabling factors as well as a student's ability to meet any pre-requisite rules.
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