Jan 19 & 20
Week 2: Constructing Childhood
I/ Innocent child versus adultlike child
II/ Becoming versus being
III/ Broader implications/questions
•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
-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
• Measured lenience
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
•Selective: eg street kids
- Children Underground
- Hecht, Tobias. 1998. Home in the street: street children of Northeast Brazil.
F) Complicated: Children as adult-like