Children’s Subjectivities and Commercial Meaning: The Delicate Battle Mothers Wage When Feeding Their Children

Part of the Studies in Childhood and Youth book series (SCY)


This chapter seeks to challenge a generally held and widely voiced conviction that posits that marketing and advertising ‘invade’ family life. It is a view based on an assumption that commerce originates outside the sphere of the household, subsequently enters it and, in so doing, introduces the taint of pecuniary value into family relations (see, for instance, Hochschild 2003, 2005; Zelizer 2005). Markets, in this way of thinking, stand as discrete from and foreign to the household, contaminate authentic expressions of sentiment and exert an inordinate (and often unwelcome) effect on children who lack adequate defences against incessant and daily commercial incursions. Family members — both parents and children — in this configuration are thought to be fooled more often than not by the commercial sleight-of-hand of marketing and advertising into making decisions counter to their own interests. This way of approaching consumer culture leaves little room for comprehending how family members and relationships confer social meaning onto, with and through commercial goods, as a good deal of research argues and demonstrates (Douglas & Isherwood 1979; DeVault 1991; Miller 1998; Chin 2001; Casey & Martens 2007; Phillips 2008).


Everyday Life Store Brand Consumer Culture Intensive Mothering Commercial World 
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© Daniel Thomas Cook 2009

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