Since the publication of the influential book by Philippe Aries in the 1960, ‘Centuries of Childhood’, it caused a major topic of interest for historians. For many years, oral history has become a predominant technique used by historians to help gain further understanding of the lives people lived in the past. The Oral History Society stated that oral history is the recordings of an individual’s memories and experiences. This suggests that it is almost viewed as a technique which enables historians or researcher to gather information based on people’s unique memories and their lifestyle which enables them to reconstruct the past. Therefore to gain in-depth information, this technique was used to explore types of childhood experienced by people of different time periods and culture. Hence this technique was used to explore and obtain information based on childhood experiences of those born in the 1950s compared to those born around the 1980s. Issues such as family life, leisure and education will be explored because they are considered as factors which heavily influence the type of childhood a child will experience as well as predict the outcome of their future. These areas are considered to be important because they play a major role on the childhood experience of an individual.
Secondary literature such as textbooks and websites were explored which provided insights to what was actually occurring at the period in which each interviewee was born into. This also assisted with developing questions for the interview and to gain a basic understanding of the type of childhood and education the interviewee must have experienced.
Prior to the interview, a semi-structured interview, with open ended questions, was devised (see appendix A) to allow the fundamental questions that cover the areas regarding childhood experiences and education. This enabled the interviewer to ask additional questions throughout the interview to gain in-depth data which were fully explained and justified by the interviewees. The interviewees were also made aware that the interview was going to be recorded.
Four people from different backgrounds were chosen in order to compare and contrast the childhoods of people between the different age groups; 30-59 and 60+. These people were:
Hamza is a 62 year old Indian male, who was born in Kenya in 1952. He migrated when he was 12 with his family to England in 1964. He currently has 4 children and 4 grandchildren.
Amina is a 37 year old Indian female, who was also born in Kenya in 1977. She migrated to England when she was only 15 years old alongside her family.
Dave is a 35 year old male, who was born in England in 1979. He is currently married, with three children and owns his own taxi company.
Evelyn is a 64 year old female, born in England in the 1950s. She is a widow with 3 children and 5 grandchildren.
An individual’s childhood is considered to be a broad concept especially...