The Anthropology of Childhood: Cherubs, Chattel, Changelings

The Anthropology of Childhood:

Cherubs, Chattel, Changelings

"In this comprehensive and delightful book, Lancy weaves his encyclopedic knowledge of the field of childhood across cultures into a series of thought-provoking essays that capture the wide range of children's experience around the world. As he interprets the cultural meanings that organize their daily lives, he simultaneously performs a comprehensive cultural analysis of middle-class American childhood and parenting. This book is unique in that it will be of great value to scholars and their students across the fields of anthropology, sociology, psychology, and education, but also of great interest to parents and policy makers who want to see themselves and others more clearly."

Suzanne Gaskins, Professor of Psychology, Northeastern Illinois University


"Through his expansive integration of the anthropological literature, Lancy has moved the field forward towards a holistic and unified perspective on children and childhood. I can think of no other work that at once exemplifies such depth and breadth. This visionary focus joins theoretical perspectives heretofore considered disparate in a synthetic framework that redefines the anthropology of childhood."

John Bock, Professor of Anthropology, California State University


"In this work of stunning insight and signal importance, David Lancy frees us from constricted, culture-bound conceptions of childhood, illustrating the extraordinarily diverse forms that children's development has taken. By dismantling narrowly ethnocentric notions of what constitutes a normal childhood, he allows us to envision alternatives to the overpressured, overorganized, overcommercialized world that today's middle-class children inhabit."

Steven Mintz, Columbia University, author of Huck's Raft: A History of American Childhood


"A wonderful, unique, and essential advance in our understanding of humankind. Anyone who cares about children (in fact, anyone who wants to understand their own life and modern society) should read this book."

Alan Fiske, Professor of Anthropology, Director, Center for Culture, Brain, and Development, University of California, Los Angeles


“David Lancy has produced a finely nuanced, beautifully written and comprehensive account of children’s lives and the meanings that adults give to childhood. Delightfully illustrated and drawing on insights from anthropology, psychology, sociology and history his book is essential for anyone interested in cross-cultural studies of childhood.”

Heather Montgomery, Senior Lecturer in Childhood Studies, The Open University