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Lecture

Popular Culture and Consumption: Part 3


Department
Popular Culture
Course Code
PCUL 1F92
Professor
Scott Henderson

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PCUL1F92 Section 1: Tuesday, November-22-11
** Continued from last lecture…
Post-Industrial Childhood
Contemporary childhood anxieties
The impact of the post-industrial.
Notion that we live in a globalized world filled with technology.
oFilled with contemporary anxieties, how do you address children
in this world?
Pokémon idealizes early childhood time with ties to nature and a rural
past.
oMystical place – an idealized version of nature that is
concurrently technological.
Mastery and Agency
Children have a mastery over the Pokémon environment.
Kids can gather an incredible number of facts about the way this
‘world’ works.
oe.g. How to play the card game.
** Image of Pikachu Pokémon card **
Mastery of Technology
Pokémon also involves technology and the mastery of that technology.
oe.g. Adding to your Pokedex, use of certain Pokeballs to catch
certain Pokemon.
Tamagotchi offered a similar feeling of mastery. ** Image of a
Tamagotchi **
Gives users a sense of control over the environment and a place within
it.
Children’s Language
“When you speak to children and want them to understand, speak their
language [get down to their level, what are their interests and concerns?]”
-James McNeal (with paraphrase by Professor Henderson.
Pokémon was easy to pick up, even at younger age.
It had a very simple premise that rewarded perseverance.

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PCUL1F92 Section 1: Tuesday, November-22-11
oe.g. training your Pokémon to beat Gym Leaders and win the
game.
o
Interactivity
Pokémon created a childhood community.
oRoutines of watching the show, playing the card and video
games with friends.
Original game had 11 of 151 Pokémon that could only be obtained via
trading with a friend.
Also brought together a community through shared interest and
language (the terminology of the Pokémon world).
**Question about subjectivity and agency through popular
culture forms on exam**
oe.g. “Fashion is a way of expressing subjectivity and agency”.
A Place of their Own
Anne Allison notes that those she interviewed; creators, marketers,
gamers, etc. all repeated the notion that it gave children a place of
their own.
It is a world not understood by most adults.
oPokemon was a part of an ‘expansive universe’.
Allows children to have autonomy, individuality, subjectivity: agency
oTo be an agent – to recognize oneself as an individual, have
autonomy in choice within the larger restricted world.
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