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Portrayals of Children in Popular Culture

Fleeting Images

Edited by Vibiana Bowman Cvetkovic and Debbie C. Olson

Portrayals of Children in Popular Culture: Fleeting Images, edited by Vibiana Bowman Cvetkovic and Debbie Olson, is a collection which examines images of “children” and “childhood” in popular culture, including print, online, television shows, and films. The contributors to this volume explore the constructions of “children” and “childhood” rather than actual children or actual childhoods. In the chapters that are concerned with depictions of actual, individual children, the authors investigate how the images of those children conform or “trouble” current notions of what it means to be a child engaged in a contemporary “childhood.” This is a unique volume, because of the academic discourse which is employed—that of “Childhood Studies.” The Childhood Studies scholars represented in this collection utilize an interdisciplinary approach which draws upon various academic fields—their methodologies, theoretical approaches, and scholarly conventions—for the scholarly research in this collection.

Together, the contributions to this collection interrogate classic notions of childhood innocence, knowledge, agency, and the fluid position of the signifier “child” within contemporary media forms. These interdisciplinary works function as a testament to the infectiousness of the child image in print, television, and cinematic contexts, and represent a new avenue of discursive scholarship; the questions raised and connections made provide fresh insights and unique perspectives to topics regarding children and childhood and their representation within multiple media platforms. The growing field of Childhood Studies is enriched by the intellectual originality represented by this volume’s authors who ask new questions about the enduring and captivating image of the child.

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Lexington Books
Pages: 258Size: 6 x 9
978-0-7391-6748-9 • Hardback • December 2012 • $95.00 • (£65.00)
978-0-7391-9757-8 • Paperback • June 2014 • $41.99 • (£27.95)
978-0-7391-7956-7 • eBook • December 2012 • $38.99 • (£24.95)
Vibiana Bowman Cvetkovic is a reference librarian at the Paul Robeson Library at Rutgers University.

Debbie Olson, ABD, is lecturer at University of Texas at Arlington.
Preface, Vibiana Bowman Cvetkovic and Debbie Olson
Part One. Print and the Web
Chapter One. "The Girl You've Always Wanted to Be!" Girl Power and Commodification in Teen Magazines,
Caryn Murphy
Chapter Two. Children and Media in Parenting Magazines, Amy Franzini
Chapter Three. Making Kids Sexy: Sexualized Youth, Adult Anxieties and Abercrombie and Fitch,
Stephen Gennaro
Chapter Four. Configuring Childhood on the Web,
Katie Elson Anderson
Part Two. Television
Chapter Five. Pearly Whites: The Imagery of Teeth in Peter Pan, Elite Figure Skating, Gymnastics, and Toddler Beauty Pageants,
Beth Nardella
Chapter Six. Conceptualizing Childhood in the Korean Education Broadcasting System (EBS): The Critical Analysis of
Pororo, Lena Lee
Chapter Seven. Accidental Deaths: the Violence of Representing Childhood in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,
Morgan Genevieve Blue and Lena Lee
Chapter Eight. "Better Multiculturalism" Through Technology:
Dora the Explorer and the Training of the Preschool Viewer(s), Drew Chappell
Part Three. Film
Chapter Nine. "Making Mischief of One Kind or Another": Turning Literary Rebellion into Film Reminiscence in
Where The Wild Things Are, Michelle Ann Abate
Chapter Ten. "They Don't Really Care What Happens to Me": Divorce, Family Life and Children's Emotional Worlds in 1950s' British Cinema,
Janet Fink
Chapter Eleven. Representations of Children in Pixar Films: 1995-2008,
Iris Shepard
Chapter Twelve. Little Burton Blue: Tim Burton and the Product(ion) of Color in the Fairy Tale Films
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) and The Corpse Bride (2005), Debbie Olson
Chapter Thirteen. Childhood in War and Violence:
Turtles Can Fly and The Kite Runner
Lan Dong
Chapter Fourteen. Spelling Out Racial Difference: Moving Beyond the Inspirational Discourses in,
Akeelah and the Bee Kathryn E. Linder
Chapter Fifteen. See St. Louis and Die: Wartime and the Morbid Child Psychology of
Meet Me In St. Louis, Vincent Casaregola
A much needed and very welcome addition to the childhood studies canon, this unique collection profiles state of the art scholarship on representations of children. Pursuing critical themes, this path-breaking volume demonstrates the significance of taking popular culture seriously. Chapters on print, television, and film written by leading academics in the field combine to create a comprehensive, thought-provoking and compelling account—an essential text for anyone with an interest in making sense of modern childhoods.
Mary Jane Kehily, The Open University

Portrayals of Children in Popular Culture offers a set of impassioned and empowered interpretations how media culture speaks to and about children. Notable for the currency and comprehensiveness of its contributions, it offers fresh readings of magazines, movies, television, and the internet. International in scope, it opens insightful dialogues around gender, race, sentiment, desire, socialization, and citizenship. Deconstructing the uses and understandings of childhood, [this book] advances ongoing discussions in the field.
C. Richard King, Washington State University

This publication is an extraordinary collection of scholarly writing focusing mainly on the contemporary imagery of children over a range of formats, varying from print and online sources to television portrayals and studies of children in film. In some essays there is background from past times for the purposes of illustrating contrasting perspectives regarding children, but the dominant timeframe for analysis is contemporary. Many of the essays have been previously published while some are new. The authors present a rich diversity of backgrounds, expertise, methods of research and styles. ... it is a very engaging, thorough and stimulating collection of researched writing on the subject. It is highly recommended.
Australian Library Journal