Sociological Perspectives on Children and Childhood, 7.5 credits

Sociological Perspectives on Children and Childhood, 7.5 hp


Main field of study

Child Studies

Course level

Second cycle

Course type

Single subject and programme course


Alex Orrmalm

Course coordinator

Alex Orrmalm

Director of studies or equivalent

Mats Andrén
ECV = Elective / Compulsory / Voluntary
Course offered for Semester Weeks Language Campus ECV
F7MCH Child Studies, Master´s Programme 1 (Autumn 2021) 202149-202203 English Linköping C

Main field of study

Child Studies

Course level

Second cycle

Advancement level


Course offered for

  • Master´s Programme in Child Studies

Entry requirements

  • Bachelor's degree equivalent to a Swedish Kandidatexamen within the humanities, social sciences or the behavioral sciences with a major relevant to the programme. 
    Examples of fields:
    - anthropology
    - education
    - history
    - communication studies
    - media studies
    - language studies
    - psychology
    - social work
    - sociology
    - political sicence
    or equivalent
  • English corresponding to the level of English in Swedish upper secondary education (English 6/B)
    (Exemption from Swedish)

Intended learning outcomes

After completion of the course, the student should on an advanced level be able to:
- account for theoretical and methodological perspectives within childhood sociology;
- describe and define important theoretical concepts within childhood sociology;
- account for the everyday life and conditions of children based on empirical studies;
- analyse how children use and are formed by societal norms and ideals, structures and material aspects with which they are confronted in different contexts.

Course content

The course contains an overview of both theory and methods in the research field of childhood sociology. A central part of the course deals with the relationship between the agency of children and social structures. Furthermore, the course treats the way in which central concepts are defined; for example, children, the child perspective, the perspective of children, age and generation. The content of the course will also provide insight into the daily life, conditions and relationships of children in comparison to other age groups, in groups of friends and depending upon gender, class, ethnicity, etc. School, leisure time and peer groups are areas that will be emphasized in the course.

Teaching and working methods

Lectures and related discussions take place online on an interactive learning platform. In addition to lectures there are seminars, workshops, and group work online. Between the lectures and the seminars the students independently acquire the course literature, complete individual and group assignments, and communicate with other students online. Examining seminars, workshops and group exercises are compulsory.

The student must have access to e-mail and Internet. The course is presented in various multi-media formats. In order to guarantee a positive learning situation online, and in order for the student to be able to actively participate in the course and communicate with fellow students and the teacher, it is therefore important that the student have access to the correct hard- and software Information concerning the specifications of the equipment necessary for the course can be found in the study guide.

English is the language of instruction.


The examinations consist of active participation in seminars, workshops and group assignments online, as well as through individual written assignments submitted online. Detailed information on the examinations can be found in the study guide.

If the LiU coordinator for students with disabilities has granted a student the right to an adapted examination for a written examination in an examination hall, the student has the right to it. If the coordinator has instead recommended for the student an adapted examination or alternative form of examination, the examiner may grant this if the examiner assesses that it is possible, based on consideration of the course objectives.

Students failing an exam covering either the entire course or part of the course twice are entitled to have a new examiner appointed for the reexamination.

Students who have passed an examination may not retake it in order to improve their grades.



Other information

Planning and implementation of a course must take its starting point in the wording of the syllabus. The course evaluation included in each course must therefore take up the question how well the course agrees with the syllabus. 

The course is carried out in such a way that both men´s and women´s experience and knowledge is made visible and developed.


Institutionen för Tema
Code Name Scope Grading scale
EXAM Examination 7.5 credits EC

Regulary literature


Änggård, Eva, (2006) “Barbie princesses and dinosaur dragons: narration as a way of doing gender”. Gender and Education, 17(5): 539-553.
Bühler-Niederberger, Doris, (2010) “Childhood Sociology in Ten Countries: Current Outcomes and Future Directions” Current Sociology, 58(2), 369-384.
Esser, Florian, Baader, Meike S, Betz, Tanja, Hungerland, Beatrice., (2011) ”Reconceptualising agency and childhood. An introduction. London: Routledge.

An introduction. In, Esser, Florian. (Ed.), Baader, Meike S. (Ed.), Betz, Tanja. (Ed.), Hungerland, Beatrice. (Ed.). Reconceptualising Agency and Childhood. London: Routledge. E-book.

Halldén, Gunilla , (2003) “Barnperspektiv som ideologiskt eller metodologiskt begrepp”. Pedagogisk forskning, 8(1-2), 12-23.

Translation in English will be available.

James, Allison, (2009) "Agency". Palgrave MacMillan

In, Qvortrup, Jens, Corsaro, William, & Honig Michael- Sebastian (Eds.) The Palgrave handbook of childhood studies. E-book.

James, Allison & James, Adrian, ((2012 or more recent editions)) Key concepts in childhood studies. SAGE Publications Ltd.

Key book for the course, please buy this books as soon as possible!

James, Allison & Prout, Alan, (1997) Constructing and reconstructing childhood: contemporary issues in the sociological study of childhood London: Falmer Press, Preface to second edition, introduction and Ch 1 (p. ix – 34).



Jenks, Chris, (1996) Childhood. New York: Routledge. Ch 1


Kehily, Mary Jane (Ed.), (2013) Understanding Childhood: a cross-disciplinary approach. London: The Policy Press. (978-1-447-30580-4). Skim Chapter 5 as a point of departure.
Komulainen, Sirkka, (2007) “The ambiguity of the child’s ‘voice’ in social research”. Childhood, 14(1): 11-28
Lange, Anderas & Mierendorff, Johanna, (2009) "Method and methodology in childhood research". Palgrave MacMillan.

In, Qvortrup, Jens, Corsaro, William, and Honig Michael-Sebastian (Eds.) The Palgrave handbook of childhood studies. E-book. 


Prout, Alan, (2005) The future of childhood: Towards the interdisciplinary study of children. London: Routledge Falmer. Parts of ch 3, p 59-75.

 The pages will be uploaded in Lisam.

Rautio, Pauliina, (2013) “Children who carry stones in their pockets: on autotelic material practices in everyday life”. Childhood, 11(4): 394-408.
Sparrman, Anna, (2020) “Through the looking-glass: Alice and Child Studies Multiple” Childhood, 27 (1): 8-24.
Spyrou, Spyros, (2011) “The limits of children’s voices: From authenticity to critical, reflexive representation”. Childhood, 18(2): 151-165


Complete bibliography can be found in Lisam's course room

Additional literature


Esser, Florian. (Ed.), Baader, Meike S. (Ed.), Betz, Tanja. (Ed.), Hungerland, Beatrice. (Ed.)., (2016) Reconceptualising Agency and Childhood. London: Routledge.


Smith, Carmel & Greene, Sheila, (2014) Key thinkers in childhood studies. Policy Press.


Spyrou, Spyros, (2019) ”An Ontological Turn for Childhood Studies?”. Children&Society, 33: 316-323

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