Kinderculture: The Corporate Construction of Childhood.
Kinderculture is a journey beneath the surface consciousness of Disney movies, Bart Simpson, trading cards (everything from baseball players to mass murderers), Mortal Kombat, Goosebumps, Highlights for Children, professional wrestling, American Girl, Days of Our Lives, McDonald's, and, of course, Barbie. Some chapters provide detailed information about the historical development of certain products. Another chapter critically examines educational programming, including Sesame Street and Barney. This journey is a reasoned exploration of what messages children receive when they indiscriminately sample the offerings of corporations, which are certainly driven by vested interests.
The text of Kinderculture is very approachable. If this is your first investigation of the politics behind children's culture, the best way to start is by first reading the sections that have the most meaning for you and your children. The introduction is a more technical explanation of the commercially created cultural curriculum, and is more meaningful after reading these specific chapters.
Appropriate audiences include educators who want to develop authentic, relevant curricula, parents who want to better understand their children's often perplexing behavior and beliefs, and adults who want to understand how the cultural manipulation of their own childhood has affected their current habits. If you have ever stood in line to buy the latest fad item and wondered why you were there, Kinderculture will explain.
The authors' willingness to share their personal experiences concerning these topics is probably the most appealing part of the book. The tone that emerges suggests sincere concern, not mere academic discourse. The authors urge adults and children to learn to think critically, and to become aware of the hidden messages and covert attempts to manipulate their behavior and values.
By reading Kinderculture, one does not necessarily lose the joy of collecting cards, watching movies or reading Goosebumps. Instead, readers gain the satisfaction of learning to protect themselves and their children from controlling political and commercial interests.
Kinderculture helps professionals who work with children to see how movies, books, television, video games and toys can be "teaching machines" that produce culture. Professionals can incorporate this understanding into practice, to facilitate children's understanding of themselves and others. Kinderculture will broaden your view by exposing the extra dimension of corporate manipulation. Reviewed by Raymond A. Horn, Social Studies Teacher, Cocalico High School, Denver, PA
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|Author:||Horn, Raymond A.|
|Article Type:||Book Review|
|Date:||Jun 22, 1998|
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