Children and consumer culture in American society: a by Lisa Jacobson

By Lisa Jacobson

Youngsters play a vital function in trendy financial system. in keeping with a few estimates, teenagers spend or effect the spending of as much as $500 billion each year. reporters, sociologists, and media reformers frequently current mass advertising towards young children as a contemporary fall from grace, however the roots of kid's consumerism — and the anxieties over it — date again greater than a century. during the 20th century, a large choice of teams — together with advertisers, outlets, mom and dad, social reformers, baby specialists, public faculties, and youngsters themselves — helped to socialise young ones as shoppers and struggled to outline the correct barriers of the marketplace. The essays and records during this quantity remove darkness from the historic situations and cultural conflicts that helped to provide, form, and legitimize kid's consumerism.Focusing totally on the interval from the Gilded Age in the course of the 20th century, this publication examines how and why youngsters and youth got new financial roles as shoppers, and the way those new roles either mirrored and produced dynamic adjustments in family members lifestyles and the tradition of capitalism. This quantity additionally unearths how young children and youth have used shopper items to outline own identities and peer relationships — occasionally against retailers' expectancies and parental intentions.

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Why did so few challenge this dramatic expansion of corporate power? Part of the answer is that advertisers successfully aligned themselves with the very institutions of early twentiethcentury childhood that had traditionally protected children’s innocence and sequestered childhood as a wholesome, play-centered stage of life. Advertisers secured the cooperation of the public schools in promoting advertising-based instruction in health and hygiene. They supported the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and Camp Fire Girls by allotting much-needed advertising dollars to their magazines and promoting branded goods as adjuncts to scouting activities.

Early twentieth-century advertisers struggled to address parents’ concerns even as they appealed to children’s desires. Overt parental appeals that linked children’s consumption to nutrition and achievement often appeared in children’s advertising, in sharp contrast to the utopian emphasis on pleasure and anti-authoritarian values that predominated in late twentiethcentury children’s advertising (Kline 1993; Seiter 1993) (see document 10). Early twentieth-century advertisers often courted children as seekers of parental companionship rather than as rebels against parental authority.

Kline, Stephen. 1993. Out of the Garden: Toys, TV, and Children’s Culture in the Age of Marketing. London: Verso. Kristof, Kathy. 2000. ” Los Angeles Times (December 3): C3. €C. 1920. ” Printers’ Ink 112 (↜渀屮July 29): 89–91. Larrabee, C. B. 1938. ” In Reaching Juvenile Markets: How to Advertise, Sell, and Merchandise through Boys and Girls, E. Evalyn Grumbine. New York: McGraw-Hill. Leach, William. 1993a. ” In The Mythmaking Frame of Mind: Social Imagination & American Culture, ed. , 209–38.

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