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Lecture 2

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Brock University
John Mitterer

1 CHYS 1F90 Jan 19 & 20 Week 2: Constructing Childhood Outline I/ Innocent child versus adultlike child II/ Becoming versus being III/ Broader implications/questions IV/ Discourse Main points •There are diverse and sometimes conflicting beliefs about childhood. •There are implications to various beliefs about childhood. •Discourse is a concept used to understand childhood as a social construct. I/ Innocent child vs adultlike child A) Defining innocence B) History -link to Enlightenment -Jean Jacques Rousseau: Although modesty is natural to man, it is not natural to children. Modesty only begins with the knowledge of evil. -Expansion to middle and working classes C) Some consequences or effects • Protection versus participation -Eg general vulnerability -Eg victimhood -Participation • Measured lenience • Idealized D) Complicated: Innocence and Consumption •Using innocence as a marketing tool •Thomas, Susan Gregory. 2007. Buy, Buy Baby: How Consumer Culture Manipulates Parents and Harms Young Minds. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. 2 •Langer, Beryl. “The Business of Branded Enchantment: Ambivalence and disjuncture in the global children‟s culture” in Journal of Consumer Culture, 4(2), 251-277. E) Complicated: Dangerous, troublesome, manipulative •Historical •Selective: eg street kids - Children Underground - Hecht, Tobias. 1998. Home in the street: street children of Northeast Brazil. F) Complicated: Children as adult-like •Adult-like abilities
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