Description: This study examined parental perceptions of marketing to young children using a feminist post-structural theoretical framework to specifically examine the following questions, 1) To what extent are parents aware of the marketing tactics being directed toward young children? 2) How do power/knowledge relations and practices produce parent’s multiple subjectivities as they parent their children in regards to commercial culture? 3) How can early childhood educators adapt pedagogy and practice in order to meet the needs of children growing up within the context of a commercialized childhood? In-depth unstructured interviews revealed that parents within this study tend to view themselves as solely responsible for their children and do not support governmental regulation of the advertising industry. In most cases, the parents in the study empathized with marketers trying to sell their products to children. Furthermore, while participants in this study were concerned about how consumer culture influences children’s subjectivities, they were more concerned about “adult content” than corporate access to children. Many of the parental perceptions uncovered mirror neoliberal discourses including an emphasis on individual responsibility, the belief that government regulation is censorship and the privileging of economic rationale by systematically representing children as sources of profit. This study utilized Deleuzean and Foucauldian concepts in order to make visible the practices and discourses that discipline children and parents as consumers within the United States neoliberal assemblage(s). This analysis also revealed the very contradictions and complexities that are dramatically shaping parents and young children within the United States’ consumer cultural landscape(s).
Date: May 2014
Creator: Wolff, Kenya E.