Mitchell, Claudia. (2010) “Researching Things, Objects, and Gendered Consumption in Childhood Studies”


ARGUMENT

Materialism is the study of “things” such as toys and their marketing materials.  Mitchell argues for a “new materialism” in Children’s Studies in order to develop new theories and methods for understanding children’s role as consumers.

SUMMARY

Gendered Objects – Toys are often marked by gender signifiers in the form of colour, smell, texture, and packaging imagery and slogans.

Memory Work as a method – stimulating adult subjects’ childhood memories by dressing up, looking at pictures online, or playing with actual toys.

Object archaeology as a method – examining the objects and texts (ads, insurrection manuals etc) instead of people.  People’s memories change from day to day while texts are static.

THEORY/METHOD

Interviews with adults on their childhood experiences

CRITIQUE

The study of children’s material objects only works for subjects who actually owned material objects as children.  Memory work may not resonate with poor or non-western children, or may stimulate difficult memories.

HOW TO USE

Memory work could be a potential method for a future project

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