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					              The End of History?
       Linda Pollack, Forgotten Childhood
• “Many historians have subscribed to the mistaken belief that, if a past
  society did not posses the contemporary Western concept of childhood,
  then the society had no such concept. This is a totally indefensible
  point of view - why should past societies have regarded children in the
  same way Western society today? Moreover, even if children were
  regarded differently in the past, this does not mean that they were not
  regarded as children.”
DeMause: Emerging from the
     Childhood as Site of Struggle:
the growing debates about socialization
  •   Philosophy - Locke vs. Rousseau
  •   Law and Policy - child social movements
  •   Parenting and Family Advise
  •   Education
  •   Psychology
  •   Business
  •   Sociology
  •   Anthropology, History and Cultural Studies
                                              Myth of Innocence or
                                               Crisis of Modern
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Celebrating the Pleasures
and Affluence of
Affluence vs. Amusing
Ourselves to Death
   Competing Grand Narratives of History:
Children make meaning but not in conditions of
              their own making
   • Heroic View of History   • Tragic View of History
   • Celebrate Change         • Worry about change
   • Mass Education           • Failures of modern values
   • Material Well Being      • Insistence on vulnerability in
                                the face of persistent brutality
   • End of Brutality and     • Suspicion about forces outside
     Growth of children’s       family and supporting the need
     rights                     for social control
   • Liberationism-freedom    • Protectionism-policy and
     and power of child to      resources to ensure the health
     make culture for self      and well being of the child
      Progressives Perspective on
             Family Life
                                   • Child as property to child
                                     as rights
                                   • Exploitation of Industrial
                                     Workplace to
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                                   • Poverty and Abuse to
                                     Material Well Being and
                                     Own Pleasures
                                   • Socialization to Children’s
Geldoff: Protecting Kids from Patriarchy or
       Denying them Fatherly Love
           Paradox of History
• Gain universal rights   • But lack political ones
• Freed from industrial   • But loose economic
  work                      value to parents
• Educated for            • Forced into Schooling
  citizenship             • Socially controlled on
                            playgrounds and
• Provisioned for           regimented by
  Leisure and Freedom       domesticated
  of expression             playforms
           The Role of Media in Social
• Traditional Oral Culture:
   – Breugle - Children’s Games: Community Festivals/ Religion, Folk Tales,
     Saga’s, Games
   – Recitation: Faye’s Altzheimers the art of conversation; the child’s voice, drama
• Books/ Schools
   – the creation of autonomous zone of children’s literature
   – The cultural agenda: knowledge, skills and appropriate literatures
• Rise of Popular Culture:
   – Adapting folklore and generating a shared popular culture
   – Blurring the boundaries between adult and child knowledge
   – Eroding the Basis of Parental Authority and Family micro culture: programming
     the V-chip
   – Ideological: Sanitization/ Contamination of Folk tales
   – Commodification of Culture - audiences rather than children
  Opies, Mergen, Sutton Smith
• Looking beneath the ideology of education:
  Rethinking oral cultures and play cultures in
  – What happens to street culture
  – What happens to children’s rhymes and humour
  – Children’s games and oral culture
   Debates Books and Literature
• Moral and Religious    • Liberated
  Instruction              Imaginations and
• Provide Knowledge      • Provide Entertainment
• Challenge the Reader   • Delight the Reader
             Neil Postman
• ‘Because reading makes it possible to enter
  a non-observed and abstract world of
  knowledge, it creates a split between those
  who cannot read and those who can’
Comic Panic: Dr. Wertham and
  Seduction of the Innocents

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Has Postmodern Childhood been
   liberated or Colonized by
• Children’s rights
• Education and equal opportunity
• Escape from Innocence: the competent child
• Consumerism: and choice and self
  expression in market (establish their own
  taste cultures)
On the
Gary Cross and Dan Cook

 Wonderous Innocence and the
 Invisible Hand of Marketing
Childrearing in
Psychology: and
New Mechanisms
of Regulation and
Conflict over
The Spock Generation
  Progressive Promise of the 1950’s:
The family re-constituted through mass
                TV: optimism
• Paul Porter, Federal Communication Commission
• television’s illuminating light will go far, we hope,
  to drive out the ghosts that haunt the dark corners
  of our minds—ignorance, bigotry, fear. It will be
  able to inform, educate and entertain an entire
  nation with a magical speed and vividness…It can
  be democracy’s handmaiden by bringing the
  whole picture of our political, social, economic
  and cultural life to the eyes as well as the ears.
 Spigel: Seduction of the Innocents?
The family re-constituted through media or
           children abandoned
     Lynn Spigel: Seducing the
• Worse still, parents may not even know how and
  where their children have acquired this
  information. With the mass commercial
  dissemination of ideas, the parent is so to speak
  left out of the mediation loop, and the child
  becomes the direct addressee of the message.
  Perhaps for this reason, the history of children’s
  involvement with mass media have been marked
  by a deep concern on the part of adult groups to
  monitor their entertainment and survey their
 Crisis of
the widing
dream and
The Politics of Childhood: Changing
      Arenas of Socialization

                Child                  Family
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             Peer Culture
 Hockey Violence: From Play to
• Should children’s hockey leagues allow
  body checking
• Health and safety (risk) considerations in
  children’s public leisure
• Are kids hockey careers in the making or
  just having fun?
Home Alone: Deconstructing the
     Modern Fairy Tale
• Class Conflict: powerful and powerless (poor as victims/
• Dysfunction of the Family: siblings
• Abandonment of children: the erosion of affective bonds
  and involvement
• Blurring the Generation Gap: Adultified child and the
  Incompetent Adult
• Child as hero: from fear and incompetence to triumph
  over chaos and adversity
               Who rocks? Who sleeps?
   Analyzing Children’s cultural industries
• Critiques of Multinationals and Global Children’s Culture
   – Mediatization of Life: Colonization of the Imagination-Disney
   – Children as Targets: the Commodification of Childhood
   – End of street cultures
• Marketing
   – Gendered segmentation: Star Wars vs Style Wars
   – Consumerism: Popular culture vs folk culture
   – technologies and virtualization of life
• Production of Alternatives
   – Critical Education - ie Commercialism in Schools: BC
   – Creating Alternatives - Media Lab Productions
Crisis of Childhood or

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     The personal challenges of
• Purposiveness: Defining a healthy, meaningful
  and happy life for oneself?
• Complexity: what constitutes healthy
  psychological and social development
• Self-knowledge: discovering continuity in family
  traditions and moral foundations for life
• Resistence: demands the moral courage to be
  thoughtful, critical and creative in dealing with the
  dilemma of modern life

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