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Subjectivities of the Child Consumer: Beings and Becomings

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Childhood and Consumer Culture

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

Abstract

We live in a society where age and life phases are important aspects of the production of subjectivity. The words ‘child’, ‘youth’, ‘adult’ and ‘old’ not only contain certain associations, but also assign specific positions and duties to the individual. The concept of ‘generational order’ refers to how people of different life phases are organized in relation to each other and how responsibility and power are distributed among them. A common perspective is to see adults as ‘human beings’, as responsible, rational, able members of society, while children are seen as ‘human becomings’, who are undergoing development and education and who are not yet full members of society (Qvortrup 1987, 2005; Alanen 1992; James and Prout 1997). On the other hand, the becoming state implies being on one’s way, having potential. Children are often referred to as the future of humanity and as having a special value, since they will be taking over after those who are adults now and will hopefully succeed where the present generation has failed. The commonly used expression ‘we should start with the children’ reveals a conviction that we need to support children today in order to put things right tomorrow.

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© 2010 Barbro Johansson

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Johansson, B. (2010). Subjectivities of the Child Consumer: Beings and Becomings. In: Buckingham, D., Tingstad, V. (eds) Childhood and Consumer Culture. Studies in Childhood and Youth. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230281844_6

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