Children and consumption

Research on norms and values created by children when using consumer goods, and on the norms and values which adults enact in relation to child consumption.

Since the late 1990s, children and consumption has become an increasingly established field of research. Child consumption, just like sexuality, is a so-called hypersensitive topic. All children today are born into capitalist consumer societies. Children are used in visual advertising to sell consumer goods, children are positioned as consumers by the market, childhood itself is a valued commodity. The topic of child consumption includes everything from children's (economic) value to the cultural and social value of money, the organization of entrance fees to amusement parks and children’s museums, and the visual materials which structure these practices.

My research focuses both on the norms and values created by children when using consumer goods, and on the norms and values which adults enact in relation to child consumption. Theoretically, I draw on Consumer Culture research and on the concept of "situated child consumption".
Mother gives coins to children who save money Photo credit: Istock Photo

Publications
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Publications (selected)

Sparrman, A. (2018). “It’s disgusting!” – Children enacting mixed-age differences in advertising, In V. Joosen, Vanessa (ed). Connecting Childhood and Old Age in Popular Media. Jackson, MS: UP of Mississippi

Sparrman, Anna (2015). Children’s consumer culture. In Daniel Thomas Cook and J. Michael Ryan, The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Consumption and Consumer Studies. London: Wiley-Blackwell.

Research Leader
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