Child abuse in the postmodern context: An issue of social identity

Christopher Joseph Jenks

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


This paper begins with the problem of the well-documented increase in reported cases of child abuse in western society over the last thirty years. It then examines the idea that the dominant image of childhood and the character of the relationship between adults and children in any socio-historical period is indicative of the con dition of the wider society. From this basis it investigates the transition from a state of modernity into that of postmodernity in western society and develops two models, or ‘visions’, of childhood which correspond to those structural forms. These visions are of ‘futurity’ and ‘nostalgia’ respectively. Returning to the issue of child abuse, the paper concludes that the current magnification of the problem is understandable in terms of the loss of personal identity endemic in the postmodern condition.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-121
Number of pages11
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • child abuse
  • childhood
  • futurity
  • modernity
  • nostalgia
  • postmodermty
  • social identity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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