in the UK
Children play a crucial role in today's economy. According to some estimates, children spend or influence the spending of up to $500 billion annually. Journalists, sociologists, and media reformers often present mass marketing toward children as a recent fall from grace, but the roots of children's consumerism - and the anxieties over it - date back more than a century. Throughout the twentieth century, a wide variety of groups - including advertisers, retailers, parents, social reformers, child experts, public schools, and children themselves - helped to socialize children as consumers and struggled to define the proper boundaries of the market. The essays and documents in this volume illuminate the historical circumstances and cultural conflicts that helped to produce, shape, and legitimize children's consumerism. Focusing primarily on the period from the Gilded Age through the twentieth century, this book examines how and why children and adolescents acquired new economic roles as consumers, and how these new roles both reflected and produced dynamic changes in family life and the culture of capitalism. This volume also reveals how children and adolescents have used consumer goods to define personal identities and peer relationships - sometimes in opposition to marketers' expectations and parental intentions.
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