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Reclaiming Childhood: Freedom and Play in an Age of Fear

reviewed by Karen Sternheimer - July 31, 2009

coverTitle: Reclaiming Childhood: Freedom and Play in an Age of Fear
Author(s): Helene Guldberg
Publisher: Routledge, New York
ISBN: 0415477239, Pages: 206, Year: 2009
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In 2003, a thirteen-year-old Arizona girl was strip-searched by school authorities who suspected that she was hiding ibuprofen in her underwear. The girl was an exemplary student by all accounts, but was nonetheless under suspicion after a peer accused her of sharing pills. In this case, the fear that she might have drugs—a potent symbol of youthful danger—outweighed all other school behavior. The U.S. Supreme Court later ruled this search unconstitutional. While this example might be unique in its severity, scenarios like this play out regularly under the guise of protecting children, both from themselves and one another. Schools, day care centers, and millions of families act on the fear that children and childhood itself are under siege, threatened by the dangers of the world around them in ways never seen before. New rules and laws seek to enhance children’s safety: teachers are told to minimize any physical contact with even... (preview truncated at 150 words.)

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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record, Date Published: July 31, 2009
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 15732, Date Accessed: 1/21/2021 7:50:50 PM

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About the Author
  • Karen Sternheimer
    University of Southern California
    E-mail Author
    KAREN STERNHEIMER is Associate Professor (teaching) of Sociology at the University of Southern California. Her research focuses on fears surrounding both youth and popular culture, and she is currently conducting a comparative historical study of American celebrity culture. She is the author of Kids These Days: Facts and Fictions about Today’s Youth (Rowman & Littlefield, 2006), and most recently, Connecting Social Problems and Popular Culture: Why Media is not the Answer (Westview, 2009). She blogs at www.everydaysociologyblog.com.
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