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Children’s Media Landscapes and the Emotional Geographies of Urban Natures

Living reference work entry
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Part of the Geographies of Children and Young People book series (GCYP, volume 4)

Abstract

This chapter tells the story of a vine, a girl, a boy, birds, squirrels, and an assortment of other natures dwelling in one house in the city. I attempt to make sense of a particular event implicating these myriad actors by examining the gendered and generational complexities of urban natures. Drawing on emotional geographies, this chapter shows how children’s everyday relations with urban natures are always gendered and very emotional. More specifically, the chapter explores how a child’s understanding and emotional-material experiences of nature are shaped significantly from birth by media. In this regard, the chapter examines the role of TV shows and literature and the ways in which they influence children’s understanding and material experiences of urban natures. As studies in emotion and affect have argued, emotions are not purely biological but are always shaped by a multiplicity of interactions, relations, experiences, and “affects.” Thus, the assumption that children have a close connection to “nature” cannot be understood as innate and biological. Because emotions are psychosocial, children are taught which emotions are “proper” and which are not “appropriate” according to their gender. This does not mean that children do not experience a range of emotions and feelings, but they learn which to express (and when). The chapter argues that children’s film and literature plays an important role in shaping how children understand, interact with, and relate to nature, focusing in particular on urban natures.

Keywords

Children Nature Cities Urban Emotions Gender Television media Animals 

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty, Department of GeosciencesJohn Abbott CollegeMontréalCanada
  2. 2.Department of Geography, Planning and EnvironmentConcordia UniversityMontrealCanada

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