Tuesday, 15 September 2009


Feral children are children who have spent much of their formative years in the wild, without any contact with other humans for a significant period of their lives. They are important to sociology because they illustrate the importance of socialization and are important evidence in the nature/nurture debate. Cases of feral children are thankfully rare, but are of immense interest from a sociological point of view by showing what happens when children are deprived of human contact.

Case 1: Oxana Malaya, the Ukrainian Dog Girl


Oxana is not really either a feral child or a confined child, but rather a neglected one. She spent much of her childhood between the ages of 3 and 8 living in a kennel in the back garden of the family home in Novaya Blagoveschenka, Ukraine, although she did spend some time in the house with her alcholic and neglectful parents. Her childhood spent in the company of dogs meant that Oxana exhibited many of the characteristics of a dog: she would run about on all fours and bark. When first found in 1991 she could hardly speak. Although Oxana can now talk and behave normally in many respects, she lives in a home for the mentally ill and will never be considered a "normal" person.


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