In a certain sense, childhood is most acutely experienced in retrospect. As a child, it’s simply life as you know it. But, as an adult, childhood (both one’s own and the developmental category in general) takes on a kind of mythic significance and, perhaps, nostalgic appeal. In this episode of Off Topic we look at the ways in which adults and their adult notions, fantasies, and theories about childhood shape what it means to be a child, and we ask if there is anything essential about childhood apart from what parents, teachers, movie producers, and authors say about it.
C.J. Pascoe, Professor of Sociology and author of Dude, You’re a Fag, about teenagers, high school, and the ways in which children reproduce the rigid gender distinctions and power dynamics of the adult world through bullying and the casual use of homophobic slurs.