Children, Morality and Society by Sam Frankel (auth.)

By Sam Frankel (auth.)

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This sensational public response acted as a catalyst to the forming of a social consensus in which the threat children posed was not only agreed to but acted upon. This perceived fear was not restricted in its application, but seen to apply in relation to all children. The result was that those who might be regarded as ‘innocent’ were seen as justifiable collateral damage as politicians and others sought to capitalise on this popular wave of feeling, developing policies that focused on the potential threat that children posed, as seen, for example, in the lowering of the age at which the criminal law could deal with children and increased measures to provide surveillance and control (Muncie 2004).

One’s nationality can be easily distinguished from another both in terms of similarities and differences. For example, within most of the European Union there are no restrictions on travel and a UK passport will provide an element of similarity with a Finnish passport. Therefore access and acceptance within each country are open. However, if one were to travel to Saudi Arabia using a UK passport, the individual’s nationality would immediately raise questions of acceptance; only with the additional steps of securing a visa might entry be allowed.

In Athens, for those parents who could afford it, children were provided with a moral guardian to ensure this control. As a result children were constantly accompanied by a paidagogos, a slave who was given the duty to watch over his charges at school and home, sitting in on lessons and escorting them when they were out, with responsibility ‘for teaching the boy good manners’ (Amos and Lang 1979: 161). Plato was in no doubt of the importance of a moral education; in fact he argued that education was ‘training from childhood in goodness, which makes a man eagerly desirous of becoming a perfect citizen’ (Smale 1998: 59).

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