* What happens to childhood when the nature of adulthood becomes uncertain? * What impact is globalization having on adult-child relationships? * How are we to study 'growing up' today? Traditionally, children and adults have been treated as different kinds of person, with adults seen as complete, stable and self-controlling, and children seen as incomplete, changeable and in need of control. This ground-breaking book argues that in the early twenty-first century, 'growing up' can no longer be understood as a movement toward personal completion and stability. Careers, intimate relationships, even identities, are increasingly provisional, bringing into question the division between the mature and the immature and thereby differences between adults and children. Childhood and Society charts the emergence of the conceptual and institutional divisions between adult 'human beings' and child 'human becomings' over the course of the modern era. It then examines the contemporary economic and ideological trends that are eroding the foundations of these divisions. The consequences of this age of uncertainty are examined through an assessment of sociological theories of childhood and through a survey of children's varied positions in a globalizing and highly mediated social world. In all, this accessible text provides a clear, up-to-date and original insight into the sociological study of childhood for undergraduates and researchers alike. It also develops a new set of conceptual tools for studying 'growing up'.