The Child as Social Person
By Sara Meadows
Routledge – 2010 – 408 pages
Questions about how children grow up in their social worlds are of enormous significance for parents, teachers, and society at large, as well as for children themselves. Clearly children are shaped by the social world that surrounds them but they also shape the social worlds that they, and those significant to them, encounter. But exactly how does this happen, and what can we do to ensure that it produces happy outcomes?
This book provides a critical review of the psychological literature on the development of personality, social cognition, social skills, social relations and social outcomes from birth to early adulthood. It uses Bronfenbrenner's model of the development of the person and up-to-date evidence to analyse normal and abnormal social development, prosocial and antisocial behaviour, within and across cultures. As well as outlining the theory, the book addresses applied issues such as delinquency, school failure, and social exclusion.
Using a coherent theoretical structure, The Child as Social Person examines material from across the biological and social sciences to present an integrated account of what we do and do not know about the development of the child as a social actor.
The Child as Social Person provides an integrated overview of the exciting field of developmental social psychology, and as such will be essential reading for advanced undergraduate students in psychology, education and social work, as well as postgraduates and researchers in these disciplines.
"Meadows navigates a vast research literature in her exploration of systems around the developing child. Her approach is comprehensive, building up a picture of each system from biological, evolutionary and genetic foundations, towards psychological and sociocultural perspectives. … In her introduction, Meadows likens the book to a Victorian novel … the comparison is apt for this rich, rangy story of development." - Joe Hickey, Suffolk Mental Health Partnership Trust, UK, in The Psychologist
"The level of writing is appropriate for advanced undergraduates—and perhaps beginning graduate students—who have little prior training in social development. … I also believe that the book’s contextual focus will make it useful to students across disciplines, though it is written toward the discipline of psychology. … The Child as Social Person is also written in a way that should be appealing to students and other readers. The narrative is very engaging, reading like an interesting story around the topic of childhood social development rather than as a listing of "facts" as found in some textbooks. … In sum, I view this book as a valuable contribution to the field of childhood social development." – Noel A. Card in PsycCRITIQUES
"This book offers the most complete update of Bronfenbrenner’s model of person – environment interaction that I have seen, making it an all the more important contribution to the field." – Harry Daniels, Dept Education, University of Bath, UK
"Both students new to this area and established researchers will benefit from this integrative text, which clearly captures the complexity of factors which influence children’s social development. The cross-referencing of topics within and between areas is excellent, clearly demonstrating the importance of considering the multitude of factors playing a role in individual differences. A must read!" - Dawn Watling, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK
1. Introduction. 2. Beginning with the Child. 3. Qualities of Micro-Systems 1: Child and Parents. 4. Qualities of Microsystems 2: Child and Other Children. 5. Larger Social Settings. 6. Risk and Resilience. 7. Reflections.
Sara Meadows works in the Graduate School of Education of the University of Bristol. As a psychologist she uses the concepts and the methods of developmental psychology as a way of understanding what children are experiencing at home and in their other social settings and the ways in which they grow up as effective social actors. Much of her current research is with the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), also known as the ‘Children of the Nineties’ study.