10 October 2008

excerpt from John R. Gillis

"In Western cultures childhood remains a prime source of selfhood, especially for men, the thing they use to explian themselves to themselves and others. In a secular age that has ceased to believe in eternity, childhood has becojme a guarantee of immortality, the one solid thing left when everthying else seems to melt into thin air. It is the most photographed of life's phases. "We fend off death's terros, snapshot by snapshot," observes Anne Higonnet, "pretending to save the moment, halt time, preserve childhood intact." In the latest phase of WEstern cultural development, the favorite image is that of the unborn child, stranded on its fetal island, the ultimate representation of pristine origins, the original uncorrupted self."

- John, R. Gillis, The Islanding of Children - Reshaping the Mythical Landscape of Childhood from Designing Modern Childhoods: History, Space and the Material Culture of Children. Edited by Marta Gutman and Ning de Coninck-Smith.