The paper “ Finding Nemo and Hannah Montana - the Notion of Childhood as a Social Construction” is a creative variant of a movie review on film studies. The concept of childhood has been the center stage of contemporary media. Childhood has been defined using various multidisciplinary viewpoints whereby biologists, physiologists, sociologists, and psychologists have given their explanations concerning the meaning of the concept of childhood. In defining childhood, sociologists Allison James and Alan Prout have defined childhood as a social construction. As such it provides an interpretive frame for contextualizing the early years of human life.
In addition, Prout and James (1997) highlight that childhood is distinct from biological immaturity, it is neither a natural nor a universal feature of human groups but appears as a specific structural and cultural component of many societies. With this definition in mind, this particular paper seeks to evaluate how the two films; finding Nemo" (2003) and Hannah Montana, represent the idea of childhood. The movie Finding Nemo (2003) represents the notion of childhood as a social construction as defined by Prout and James 1997. According to Prout and James (1997, p3), the concept of childhood as an aspect that is socially constructed implies that childhood can not only be described as a natural or biological process but rather is occurs as a result of the society which identifies and labels the phrase and also gives meaning to the concept of childhood.
Prout and James (1997, p3) further highlight that the institution of childhood varies across cultures which further forms a cultural and structural component that is referred to as the society. When evaluating the film Finding Nemo, the setting is within a great barrier reef an environment that is characterized by a lot of great danger such as a dangerous fish known as the barracuda, which killed Nemo’ s mother Coral.
Based on this kind of environment or society the concept of childhood is socially constructed. We see that Nemo’ s father Marlin; is greatly protective of his son at all times. Marlin is constantly fearful of the unpredictable risks that may be brought about by the ocean as a result he struggles in order to safeguard his son Nemo.
From this sort of protection that is constantly given to Nemo, it can be stated that based environment or the social setting of the ocean, a child is perceived as a human being that should always be protected because they can not effectively defend themselves. For instance, we see Nemo as a young fish, enthusiastic about exploring the mysteries that exist in the reef, however, when unexpectedly Nemo is taken a distance that is far from away from home and driven to a fish tank that was presumed to be a dentists office, we see his father Marlin taking a heroic journey in order to rescue his son. Childhood as a social construction is also influenced by the fact that children must and are to be seen as active in determining and construction of their social lives, the lives of the people existing around them and the society in which they live.
Jenks (2005) argues that children are not just passive but rather they are subjects of social process and structures. The movie brings about a conceptualization that children are supposed to be active in determining and constructing their social lives and the lives of the people around them.
Initially, we see that Nemo’ s father Marlin is always protective of his son, he tries to protect him, for instance as he attends his first day in school, Marlin stands at a distance just to watch over his son. In addition, we see Marlin effortlessly trying to confront various dangers such as sees birds, men, and sewer tankers in order to rescue his son after their separation.
A good samaritan Dory however convinces Marlin to be a risk-taker and be courageous by letting his son find his own way out. Marlin later realizes that a child should be active in constructing and determining their own social lives. Marlin finally let’ s go of the protective nature that he had towards his son. He gives his son an opportunity to explore the world alone in despite of the fact that society has many unpredictable dangers.
Channel, G, and Diaz, L,2010, Childhoods: A Handbook Rethinking Childhood, Peter Lang Publishing,p312.
Bryson, C, 2011, Hannah Montana - TV Show Review, Retrieved 22 May 2012, From
Jenks, C, 2005, Childhood, Key Ideas, Routledge.
Newman Study, 2011, Childhood as a Social Construction, Retrieved 22 May 2012, From
Prout, A and James, A, 1997, Constructing and Reconstructing Childhood: Contemporary Issues in the Sociological Study of Childhood, Routledge. The Films, 2012, Reviews of Cinema Six, Received
Prout, A and James, A, 1997, Constructing and Reconstructing Childhood: Contemporary Issues in the Sociological Study of Childhood, Routledge.
The Films, 2012, Reviews of Cinema Six, Received