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There is a general consensus among social historians that the concept of “childhood” as a distinct phase of the life cycle, can be traced back to the nineteenth century, in Western culture. Since the beginnings of the twentieth century whole sections of the legislative process have been consecrated to defining its legal framework and enshrining this ideal in the national conscience as one of the key markers of “civilisation.”

Despite the fact that in 1959, the United Nations published its Declaration of Children’s Rights, the reality of daily life, for most children, has never kept pace with these reforms nor with the ideals underpinning them. Indeed, the sophisticated legal framework notwithstanding, children, in even the most developed of Western societies, are still deprived of many of their basic rights, the right to education, protection against cruelty, hunger, economic exploitation or even physical abuse.

It is to this question, the dual nature of society’s relationship with its young, that this number of Civilisations (Presses Universitaires des Sciences Sociales de Toulouse) will be devoted: aspiration and results, image and reality, the present as well as the past, Europe and Western societies in general.

Abstracts (c. 250 words) with a short C.V. to be sent to Rosie Findlay by 26 January 2008.

Rosie Findlay
Professeur des universités
Département des Langues et Civilisations
Université des Sciences Sociales, Toulouse 1
2, rue du Doyen Gabriel Marty
31042 Toulouse, France
Bureau AR 218
tél 00 33 (0)5 61 63 36 26 fax 00 33 (0)5 61 22 94 08

CFP – “Adult in Miniature”: Life Without Childhood