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

By Sam Frankel (auth.)

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Here an example from his time with the Persians reflected how moral attributes sat alongside those of the soldier, ‘the period of a boy’s education is between the ages of 5 and 20 and they are taught to ride, to use the bow and to speak the truth’ (Herodotus 2003: 47). Moral education or guidance was important, as there was this recognition that the young were prone to rashness, which Herodotus notes in overhearing an adviser speaking with a young king, ‘do not always act on the passionate impulse of youth.

Within closed groups, membership is highly regulated and it is difficult to leave, in contrast to open groups, which are more freely constituted. By doing this they recognised the need to look at children within the different settings of their everyday lives, considering the strategic flexibility they employed as they moved between different environments. They go on to give an example, saying how a child could be followed at home, at school and in the playground and ‘it would be possible to see how the different modes of action might be employed in these different settings’ (1995: 86).

To remain high on the plinth of masculinity boys assert themselves through actions against others, achieving social capital with displays of fighting and the use of misogynistic and insulting language. The implications of this in the context of moral agency will be developed in later chapters. Integral to the whole notion of belonging, therefore, is the concept of the ‘collective’ or group. Establishing a sense of sameness with others, whether at school or at home, results in the creation of a particular 30 Children, Morality and Society cultural unit (Cohen 1994).

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