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date: 16 December 2018

Abstract and Keywords

The academic study of children as consumers took root in the 1960s and did not begin in earnest until the 1970s, when the paradigm of ‘consumer socialization’ took hold among psychologically oriented business scholars. In the 1980s, some discussion of the history of children's consumption and popular culture began to appear in edited volumes and journal articles, with full treatments of some aspects of that history coming into view in the 1990s. Even as children's consumer culture takes centre stage in contemporary media reports, political punditry, and academic scholarship, the history of children's consumption remains largely unrecognized in, or otherwise marginal to, both histories of childhood and histories of consumption. Children's consumer lives or the popular culture of childhood most often occupy a side or subsidiary position in the overall historiography of childhood as in, for instance, recent works by Steven Mintz and Hugh Cunningham. It appears that, in a time of severe economic depression, both parents and commercial actors looked to childhood and the ‘child’ as promising bearers of hope for the future.

Keywords: children, consumption, childhood, parents, consumers, consumer culture, popular culture

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