Linda L. Price
Underwood Family Professor of Marketing
Eller College of Management
University of Arizona
How Families Are Shaped by Their Emerging Adult Children: Consumption and the Open-Ended Project of Becoming Family
Perhaps one of the most important challenges to family identity is the pursuit of independence and individual identity as children approach and move into adulthood. Most research has focused on the emerging adult’s story of change and occasionally family influences. Surprisingly little attention has been given to how emerging adults’ identity choices affect the shared identity of the family. In this presentation I theorize a framework and present preliminary findings about how the choices and preferences of emerging adult members challenge and change the family. In particular, I examine how consumption inserts itself and gives dimension and consistency to the family assemblage, consolidating certain relations or enabling the emergence of new properties through the inclusion of new components and subsequent relations.
Associate Professor of Sociology
University of Virginia
From Reciprocity to Compassion: Children, Consumer Culture and What We Owe Each Other
In contemporary advanced industrialized nations, children’s participation in consumer culture is part of that which makes them fully visible in their social worlds. Through talk and trading, they actively negotiate the meanings and value of consumer products and experiences, even as such goods are not equally available to all children. Existing scholarship on children’s consumer culture has viewed it as common language; as a sorting mechanism for inequality; as a vector or conduit for care; as a strategic medium for currying favor; even as a bridge between local and global cultures. But do we understand how the commercialization of children’s lives affects their capacities for empathy? Anthropological studies suggest that advanced capitalism enables more abstract, less parochial versions of empathy – governed less by exchange norms with our neighbors than fellow feeling for the (global) stranger. It seems we veer from a thick reciprocity to a thin compassion, as we simultaneously enlarge but efface our communities. In this talk, I explore how consumer culture in children’s lives at once generates and reflects notions of who counts as the other, and what we owe them. I argue that we are best able to see how consumer culture shapes empathy when we consider the work it does in fashioning and disciplining the neoliberal subject, and thus in creating the relationship of the self to the other.
Professor of Childhood Studies
Practices of child consumption – money, money, and more money
Child consumption is not just about the calculative dimension of exchange. By approaching child consumption in and through practice(s) it becomes possible to explore how larger societal processes of consumption creates inequalities, bonds, belongings, friendships and families. It also becomes possible to see how these aspects intertwines with economic values. Or to put it more straight forward; it becomes possible to investigate profound values and meanings of money itself. In this presentation I theorize both consumption practices and money. I will use empirical examples from amusement parks, children’s museums and science centers to theoretically investigate how money is being given different values depending on what or whom it is entangled with. Focus is on the social and cultural meanings of money enacted in and through practice. The empirical examples highlights: how the organization of entrance fees enacts notions of children/childhood and family; how donations ‘make’ child culture, in what ways money is materialized in museum exhibitions; and how money is intertwined with class and age.