Buckingham, David (2011) The Material Child.


Buckingham rejects the traditional empowered verses exploited debate.  Children are not incompetent vulnerable consumers.  Nor do they express power and autonomy through consumption.  This book aims to re-frame how children’s consumption can be understood academically.


Markets have not “invaded” childhood (the sacred v. the profane Cook 2004).  Buckingham suggests the dyadic (empowered vs. exploited) view oversimplifies the issue.  Instead he argues for a broader socio-cultural understanding of children’s consumer culture embedded in both social and market relationships.   Consumption is a site of both constraint AND choice, and control AND creativity.  Consumer culture both shapes and reflects social relationships and consumer choice.

But consumers are not all-powerful:

“commercial producers and marketers obviously set constraints and parameters, and provide and shape the resources that make consumption possible.  Social relationships construct and mediate consumer culture, yet consumer culture in turn shapes the nature and meaning of social relationships” (pg 3).

Chapter 1 – Campaigners vs. Marketers


Chapter 2 -Theories of Adult Consumption


Chapter 3 -Lit Review of Children’s Consumption


Chapters 4 & 5 – Continuities between historical and modern









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