Option 2-TMA 1-What is a discourse? Identify two contrasting discourses of childhood and describe their significance for the ways in which children are viewed and for the lives they lead.

The course materials describe a discourse as:
      “A whole set of interconnected ideas that work together in a self-contained way” (Book 1 Understanding Childhood, chapter 1, P. 21)
Simply, a discourse means interconnected ideas, based on the same idea; it is a social constructionist term. These ideas are not facts; they are just differing views on one subject. There are many different discourses on the theme of childhood. The two main ones, which I am going to discuss, are the puritan and romantic discourses on childhood. However, there are many other discourses such as a liberal-humanistic and children’s rights discourses, which will remain outside the scope of this essay. People often can view the same childhood from more than one discourse, even within the same sentence.

Discourses are more than just statements about childhood. They are rooted in the historical and political culture at the time. Different cultures use different discourses on childhood (often without realising). Discourses affect the way societies run and the rules and regulations they adopt.

The romantic discourse on childhood describes childhood as a time of innocence. When children are portrayed as unspoilt and naturally good. Children are only spoiled by adult influence, and only “lose their childhood” due to violent or abusive influences. They also may misbehave because they do not understand. It is up to adults to protect their innocence, and allow them to continue this unspoilt happiness. In the bible Jesus is said to have been the protector of little children.
      “Except ye be converted and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Book 1 Understanding Childhood, chapter 2, Matthew 18: 1-4, King James Version P. 65)
Children are essentially born in Gods...