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Book of the week : Behind the image of youth

Picturing Childhood: the myth of the child in popular imagery
By Patricia Holland
IB Tauris pound;14.95

Patricia Holland has a huge, eclectic collection of pictures of children and a terrific project: to write a serious commentary on the nature of childhood based on her collection. The resulting book is generously illustrated with an astonishing variety of images and the text explores the "attitudes and ideas which construct the image".

Along the way Holland critically examines some of the ideologies associated with childhood: she lists playfulness, innocence, victimisation and bad behaviour. In another list, she adds "potent themes - family relationships, sexuality, nature, schooling and education, violence and the very limits of humanity itself". No shortage of material then, as, with considerable relish, Holland sets about her self-imposed task of constructing a set of narratives about children, "stories that become part of cultural competence".

Read the review in full innbsp;this week's TES Friday magazine

Mary Jane Drummond was until recently a lecturer at the faculty of education, University of Cambridgenbsp;nbsp;nbsp;

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