The Disappearance of Childhood

The Disappearance of Childhood

Paperback - 1994
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From the vogue for nubile models to the explosion in the juvenile crime rate, this modern classic of social history and media traces the precipitous decline of childhood in America today−and the corresponding threat to the notion of adulthood.

Deftly marshaling a vast array of historical and demographic research, Neil Postman, author of Technopoly , suggests that childhood is a relatively recent invention, which came into being as the new medium of print imposed divisions between children and adults. But now these divisions are eroding under the barrage of television, which turns the adult secrets of sex and violence into popular entertainment and pitches both news and advertising at the intellectual level of ten-year-olds.

Informative, alarming, and aphorisitc, The Disappearance of Childhood is a triumph of history and prophecy.
Publisher: New York : Vintage Books, 1994.
Edition: First Vintage Books edition
ISBN: 9780679751663
0679751661
Characteristics: xiii, 177 pages ;,21 cm.

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Oct 03, 2016

The first half of the essay outlines the history of childhood (though I think he made many factual errors, and ones he shouldn't have made: the social histories of ancient Greece and Rome were well on their way when he wrote in 1982), and the second half is more and more polemical, but more interesting and fun to read (not to mention agreeable). Chapters six and seven had insights that are still relevant today, and other social criticism would be even more trenchant today, for example his mention of children's sports as a degraded incarnation of professional sports.

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