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Record identifier : 566825
Personal Name - Primary Intelectual Responsibility : Norris, Katharine Hosmer
Title and statement of responsibility : Reinventing childhood in fin-de-siecle France: Child psychology, universal education, and the cultural anxieties of modernity [Thesis]
Publication, Distribution,Etc. : University of California, Berkeley,, 2000
Language of the Item : eng
Dissertation of thesis details and type of degree : Ph.D.
Body granting the degree : , University of California, Berkeley,
Summary or Abstract : This dissertation is a cultural history of the emergence of child psychology in early Third Republic France (1870-1914), which analyzes the central position that conflicting conceptions of childhood occupied on the French intellectual, cultural, and political landscape in this pivotal period in the nation's history. In an era of widespread fear about national decline and a falling birthrate, the French viewed children as a scarce and precious resource, and the history of child psychology in the decades before World War I offers a privileged opportunity to investigate critical and interlocking concerns in the history of gender and the family, the process of nation building, and the origins of the social sciences. The early Third Republic witnessed an outpouring of scientific research into childhood, which generated a wide-ranging dialogue about the problems children posed for national policy, from educational reform to social legislation, and for the French medical and scientific communities. Many of France's most prominent intellectuals--ranging from Hippolyte Taine to Alfred Binet--made investigations of the child a cornerstone of their social commentary or their scientific work. Yet as child psychology became a critical arena for assessing the nation's health and the efficacy of the newly emergent human sciences, it also riveted attention on a number of perplexing questions: Were children fundamentally civilized or savage? Were they fashioned by their surroundings or their inheritances? Where did the boundaries between normality and pathology lie? And who was best qualified to identify and respond to children's special needs? In chapters examining central debates over childhood--ranging from babies' cognition to moral education, from heredity to hypnosis, from suggestibility to mendacity--I argue that French observers generated complex, novel visions of childhood, which both fed and reflected fears about the nature of modern society..
Information of biblio record : TL
 
 
 
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