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Generational structuring of childhood images in television commercials

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This article examines how images of childhood are displayed in generational relations in television commercials. The data comprise 104 commercials shown on Finnish television in winter 2005 (N = 174 child performers). Generational structuring is seen as a dynamic cultural process, where the concept of 'adulthood' is described through the concept of 'childhood' and the concept of 'childhood' is defined through the concept of 'adulthood'. This notion is used to study the positions constructed for children in the audiovisual data and how these relate to other people present in the commercials. The most popular combinations in the commercials were the child as a fully independent agent in a child-centric construction, or the child as an authenticator complementing the family and adulthood. The images ranged from an obedient to a lively child, and mental activity, creativity, learning abilities and gendered stereotypes were contrasted with elements of neediness.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2013

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