Tagged with children’s consumer culture

Englehardt, Tom. (1986) “The Shortcake Strategy”


ARGUMENT – After the deregulation of children’s advertising in the early 1980s, Children’s television shows were no longer designed to entertain, but to generate sales. Authorship shifted from TV studios to toy companies and advertising agencies that produced shows to function as program length commercials (PLCs) for licensed characters and their associated merchandising. Under this … Continue reading

Kanner, Allen D. 2005. “Globalization and the Commercialization of Childhood.”


http://www.tikkun.org/article.php/Kanner-Globalization ARGUMENT Economic globalization has brought the concept of children as consumers to ever corner of the earth.  This global spread of “corporate monoculture” is harmful to children. SUMMARY There are three reasons why companies advertise to children (This is adapted from McNeal 1992 but Kanner doesn’t cite it): To generate brand awareness and loyalty … Continue reading

Nasaw, David. (1992) Children and Commerical Culture: Moving Pictures in the Early 20th Century


ARGUMENT A study of Nickelodeon movies in the early 20th century demonstrates that children had independence, agency and collective buying power as early as 1910. SUMMARY Nasaw argues that although reformers and child protectors campaigned to keep children out of the Nickelodeon theatres, children continued to swarm to the theatres in search of cheap excitement … Continue reading

Jacobson, Lisa. (2004) Raising Consumers

Jacobson, Lisa. (2004) Raising Consumers


ARGUMENT   SUMMARY Jacobson  finds that children were often depicted in early twentieth century ads as precocious shoppers with distinctive preferences and a voice to express them. In line with Cross’ and Kline’s assertions about the changing nature of childhood, Jacobson adds that changes in family life, such as a decline in the number of … Continue reading

Zelizer, Vivian, A. (1985) Pricing the Priceless Child

Zelizer, Vivian, A. (1985) Pricing the Priceless Child


ARGUMENT – Sociologist Vivian A. Zelizer argues that as nineteenth century children came to be valued less for their contribution to the family economy, they were appreciated more for their sentimental and emotional value. SUMMARY She concludes that notions of the “economically useless but emotionally priceless child” began to emerge in the 1870s and culminated … Continue reading

Cross, Gary. (2010) “Valves of Adult Desire: The Regulation and Incitement of Children’s Consumption.”


ARGUMENT Cross points out the confusion that results when parents want to control children’s consumption and desire for goods (close down the valve of consumption) but at the same time parents enjoy giving gifts and pleasing their children with consumer goods (opening up the valve of consumption.) SUMMARY Advertisers did not frequently target children or … Continue reading

Cook, Daniel Thomas. (2010) “Commercial Enculturation: Moving Beyond Consumer Socialization.”


ARGUMENT – Cook proposes “commercial enculturation,” a model to explain how children come to know and understand consumer culture. SUMMARY Cook rejects the consumer socialization framework for two reasons. First, this notion is adult-centric and implies children’s ongoing experiences and understandings are somehow inferior to “real” adult truths. Second, he suggests that this model holds … Continue reading