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"Critically evaluate the claim that adolescents and young people both today and in earlier time periods have always been demonise"
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When an understanding of an adolescent/young people has been established, examples will be shown of how and why they have been/ are seen by adults in ways that demonise them and represent them negatively. The writer will then explore the ramifications of the adults' perception and the impact they have on young people. As a conclusion this perception leads to how and why adults might perceive young people and adolescents to be unruly and/or a threat to social stability. The need to analyse the different stages of age is contributed to society's concept of age. Some societies in history considered the transition from childhood to adulthood without passing through adolescence. Childhood is defined as the stage in life from birth to 12 years of age. Childhood is not considered as having a natural transition point but it is a continual process of development. Aries (1960:128) “In medieval society the idea of childhood did not exist; this is not to suggest that children were neglected, forsaken or despised. The idea of childhood is not to be confused with affection for children: it corresponds to an awareness of the particular nature of childhood, which distinguishes the child from the young adult. In medieval society there was a lack of awareness. Emile Durkheim (as cited in Jenks, 1982:147) goes on to describe the child as “the purist of beings, a small body that the merest blow can break, that the slightest illness imperils, a collection of muscles, nerves and organs which are, so to speak, made of milk and which only form, develop and increase in strength by their beings placed in a wonderful environment of careful attention, of consideration, of favourable circumstances and protective influences”. ...
rest blow can break, that the slightest illness imperils, a collection of muscles, nerves and organs which are, so to speak, made of milk and which only form, develop and increase in strength by their beings placed in a wonderful environment of careful attention, of consideration, of favourable circumstances and protective influences”. In Romeo and Juliet, a maiden was a young woman who was ready for marriage, having obviously reached puberty implicitly implying "menses" but still having her nurse. Shakespeare portrays young people/children as wilily or in need of protection because of the adults perception of having a family grudge. Biologically speaking , a child is defined not having sexual hormones in other words not having reached puberty. He/she is not an adolescent, no having reached Erikson's stage of identity and role confusion. (Erikson, 1959) Saraga (1998 and Macionis & Plummer, 2005) points out that historically children have been seen either as innocent (Montgomery, 2003) , vulnerable and in need of protection; or they have been seen as asocial, inherently evil and in need of firm control and discipline. In early Christianity both concepts are present suggesting that the child is innocent (Pollock, 1983) or that the child is born in a state of original sin (Powell , 1917; Schucking, 1969). The child, who was born wicked and full of sin, needed to have the wickedness removed through punishment or strong discipline. (Pollock, 1983) Rituals such as Baptism or Christening continue today to symbolize the purification of babies and small children. Demonising or representing children or young people negatively in a religious context, was used as a form of control and a reasoning for punishment. In art work, representing adolescents and young people in a less
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