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Dark secrets of childhoodMedia power, child abuse and public scandals$
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Fred Powell and Margaret Scanlon

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781447317845

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447317845.001.0001

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the hidden history of child abuse

(p.229) Eight Angelmakers
Dark secrets of childhood

Fred Powell

Margaret Scanlon

Policy Press

This chapter examines the power dynamics of child abuse through the sociological lens of ‘othering’. This chapter’s analysis is set in its historical context, tracing developments up to the present day. Parental indifference historically emerges as a key issue, reflecting a wider societal indifference to abandoned children. Media silence was the product of cultural collusion. There were ‘known-knowns’ but they were also unmentionables. Why? The answer lies in the cultural dynamics in which vulnerable groups are ‘othered’. It resulted in devastating consequences for socially deprived children. They were allowed to die with societal complicity during the 18th century. The 19th century witnessed their segregation in institutions, where children were brutalised and exploited, that offered no material change in their circumstances.

Keywords:   angelmakers, hidden histories, othering, poverty, social genetics

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