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Childhood and Consumer Culture by David Buckingham, Vebjørg Tingstad (eds.)

By David Buckingham, Vebjørg Tingstad (eds.)

In fresh years little ones became an more and more very important customer industry, and there's becoming predicament in regards to the 'commercialisation' of youth. This booklet sheds gentle on those debates, supplying new empirical information and tough severe views on kid's engagement with shopper tradition from quite a lot of foreign settings.

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This image reflected a 20th century trend – more tolerant, indeed permissive, views of children, propagated through new developmentally-based child-rearing manuals, Valves of Adult Desire 25 but also family comic strips and Norman Rockwell illustrations. It reflected a new acceptance of the psychological complexity of children and a realization that the ‘terrible twos’ is merely a stage. Parents also began to accept, sometimes encourage, their children to breach boundaries in naive and exuberant play, allowing adults to participate vicariously in these moments of disorder.

As valves of desire that adults try to turn on and off, children are at the heart of the ongoing ambiguity that many adults today feel toward consumer culture. And, no doubt, this causes confusion to the young. When is the valve opened, when is it closed? Is ‘growing up’ mostly about children learning to control their own valve or about freedom from adults shutting it off? As this implies, understanding children’s consumption requires us to look beyond the dyadic relationship between the child and the merchandiser.

Advertisers have gradually broken with an old code of childhood innocence and have rationalized it with the assumption that children are by nature autonomous, have inbred, presocial needs, and have the free speech right to learn about products through advertising (Cook, 2000; Schor, 2004). Still, many parents continue to reject this modern idea and insist on the moral imperative of prolonging childhood and parental authority, even as pressures both within the family and from television and other media push the child into the market.

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