Children have become an increasingly important focus for sociological analysis in recent years. This inspiring new book explores a range of sociological approaches to researching the fascinating lives and social worlds of children, and the phenomenon of childhood. In doing so, it reviews competing theoretical positions on childhood and examines research that assumes children are competent social actors. Key and controversial issues relating to childhood are discussed such as poverty, abuse and rights. The book also considers practical, methodological and ethical issues relating to research with children. Student-oriented in structure and style, it is an ideal text for courses offered in Sociology, Early Childhood Studies and related fields.