The art of hardening "soft minds and tender brains": a medical-hygienic rationality and the social construction of childhood

A reflection on childhood implies working with the idea of a segmented life, establishing initial and final limits for the different phases, in an evolving linear age scale. Thus, the attempt to specify such stages ends by dividing life up into multiple segments, in addition to unifying what remains hidden in each of the supposed ages of life. Unification is not the property of a more distant past, as the belief in a homogeneously and chronologically divided childhood persists up until now. In this way, the chronology of life, discussed in this article, considers not only the base, load and time of people's biological maturation, but also the cultural differences and the history that define, in a decisive way, the surprising possibilities of the human being.

education; childhood; hygiene

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