Studies in Philosophy and Education

, Volume 23, Issue 2–3, pp 161–176 | Cite as

Wanted: real Children. about Innocence and Nostalgia in a Commodified Childhood

  • Bruno Vanobbergen
Article

Abstract

Today childhood takes place within amultimedia context where education, marketingand entertainment operate together in one bigmelting pot. Childhood is commodified, asituation not everybody seems happy with. Dueto increasing exposure with violence and sexualactivities, for example in children's games,children seem to lose the chance to be realchildren. In the discussions about thiscommodified childhood, innocence and nostalgiaseem omnipresent concepts. In this article wefirst analyse the discourse about the innocenceof childhood as presented by Neil Postman inhis bestseller ``The Disappearance ofChildhood.'' Here, childhood is seen as a periodwhich can mainly be characterised in terms of a``not yet.'' However, Postman's view on childhoodpresents only one side of the romanticcontinuum. The other side – in which the childappears as having a nature of her own – can beillustrated by ``On naïve and sentimentalpoetry,'' an essay written by Friedrich Schillerin 1795. Both opposing views on childhood canlead to a different interpretation of theinnocence of childhood. Finally, Schiller'sdichotomy – the naïve versus thesentimental poet – can be seen as a useful legup to the clarification of nostalgia whichseems to go hand in hand with the feeling ofthe loss of (one's own) childhood.

childhood commercialisation pedagogy 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

REFERENCES

  1. Baader, M.S (1996). Die romantische Idee des Kindes und der Kindheit. Auf der Suche nach der verlorenen Unschuld. Berlin: Luchterhand Verlag.Google Scholar
  2. Behnken, I. & Zinnecker, J. (2001). Die Lebensgeschichte der Kinder und die Kindheit in der Lebensgeschichte. In I. Behnken & J. Zinnecker (Hrgs.), Kinder. Kindheit. Lebensgeschichte. Ein handbuch (pp. 16-32). Seelze-Velber: Kallmeyersche Verlagsbuchhandlung.Google Scholar
  3. Cannella, G.S. (2002). Global perspectives, cultural studies, and the construction of a postmodern childhood studies. In G.S. Cannella & J.L. Kincheloe (Eds), Kidworld. Childhood studies, global perspectives and education (pp. 3-18). New York: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
  4. Cross, G. (2000). Ambiguities of innocence: Toys and the commercialization of the 20th century child. In Research in childhood. Sociology, culture and history. A collection of papers (pp. 129-146). Denmark: University of South Denmark.Google Scholar
  5. Donnerstein, D. (2000). The violent content of American television: A three year comparison. Paper presented at the International Forum of Researchers “Young people and the Media”, 26-29 November, Sydney (Australia).Google Scholar
  6. Doosselaere, E. van (1993). Durven leven zonder “waarom”. In E. Kuypers (Red.), Over Heidegger gesproken (pp. 79-98). Leuven/Apeldoorn: Garant.Google Scholar
  7. Drotner, K. (1999). Dangerous media? Panic discourses and dilemmas of modernity. Paedagogica Historica, XXXV(3), 593-619.Google Scholar
  8. Ewers, H. (2001). Kinderliteratur als Medium der Entdeckung von Kindheit. In I. Behnken & J. Zinnecker (Hrgs.), Kinder. Kindheit. Lebensgeschichte. Ein handbuch (pp. 47-62). Seelze-Velber: Kallmeyersche Verlagsbuchhandlung.Google Scholar
  9. Hendrick, H. (1997). Constructions and reconstructions of British childhood: An interpretative survey, 1800 to the present. In A. James & A. Prout (Eds), Constructing and reconstructing childhood. Contemporary issues in the sociological study of childhood (2nd edition) (pp. 34-62). London: Falmer Press.Google Scholar
  10. Hengst, H. (2000). Children's culture(s) in consumer societies. In B. Van den Bergh & J. Van den Bulck (Eds), Children and media: Multidisciplinary approaches (pp. 9-32). Leuven: CBGS-Publicaties, Garant.Google Scholar
  11. Jenkins, H. (1998). Childhood innocence and other modern myths. In H. Jenkins (Ed.), The children's culture reader (pp. 1-40). New York: NYU Press.Google Scholar
  12. Jenks, C. (1996). Childhood. London & New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  13. Kennedy, D. (2002). The child and postmodern subjectivity. Educational Theory, 52(2), 155-167.Google Scholar
  14. Kenway, J. & Bullen, E. (2001). Consuming children. Education-entertainment-advertising. Buckingham: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Kincheloe, J. (2002). The Complex politics of McDonald's and the new childhood: Colonizing kidworld. In G.S. Cannella & J.L. Kincheloe (Eds), Kidworld. Childhood studies, global perspectives and education (pp. 75-121). New York: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
  16. Kristeva, J. (1974). La révolution du langage poétique: l'avant-garde à la fin du XIXe siècle. Lautréamont et Mallarmé. Paris: Seuil.Google Scholar
  17. Levering, B. & van Manen, M. (1996). Childhood's secrets: Intimacy, privacy, and the self reconsidered. New York: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  18. Levin, D.E. & Rosenquest, B. (2001). The increasing role of electronic toys in the lives of infants and toddlers: Should we be concerned? Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 2(2), 242-247.Google Scholar
  19. Marsh, J. (2002). Electronic toys: Why should we be concerned? A response to Levin & Rosenquest (2001), Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 3(1), 132-138.Google Scholar
  20. Mayall, B. (2002). Towards a sociology for childhood. Thinking from children's lives. Buckingham: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Mouritsen, F. (1999). Child culture-Play culture. Working paper child and youth culture. Denmark: University of South Denmark.Google Scholar
  22. Postman, N. (1982). The disappearance of childhood. London: W.H. Allen.Google Scholar
  23. Rutschky, M. (2002). Alles noch offen. Jugend als Utopie und Roman. Neue Sammlung, 42(1), 3-12.Google Scholar
  24. Schiller, F. (1795/1993). On naïve and sentimental poetry. In W. Hinderer & D.O. Dahlstrom (Eds), Friedrich Schiller: Essays (pp. 179-260). New York: Continuum.Google Scholar
  25. Seiter, E. (1993). Sold separately. Parents and children in consumer culture. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Stearns, P.N. (2001). Consumerism in world history. The global transformation of desire. London & New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  27. Thompson, K. (1998). Moral panics. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  28. Tremp, P. (2000). Rousseaus Emile als Experiment der Natur und Wunder der Erziehung. Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der Glorifizierung von Kindheit. Opladen: Leske + Budrich.Google Scholar
  29. Van Crombrugge, H. (in press). Rousseau. In P.S. Foss (Ed), History of childhood. New York: MacMillan.Google Scholar
  30. Vandenbroeck, M. (in press). Impliciete kindbeelden: beeldjes van kindjes, Tijdschrift voor Jeugdrechten en Kinderrechten, 4(1).Google Scholar
  31. Winn, M. (1984). Children without childhood. Harmondsworth: Penguin.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bruno Vanobbergen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EducationGhent UniversityGhentBelgium

Personalised recommendations