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Symbolic Childhood


Daniel Thomas Cook

In a dozen original essays, contributors to Symbolic Childhood engage directly with the politics of representation by scrutinizing the connection between the exercise of power and portrayals of children and childhood. The volume as a whole construes childhood not as a given category, transparently understood, but as a thoroughly social artifact infused with contradictory and inexact meaning. As a social construct, childhood is thus approached as an active production which can be taken apart and reconstructed in a variety of ways, and for a variety of purposes. Chapters examine a range of issues and topics, including: precocious and gifted children, gender, sexuality, innocence, school shootings, cartoons, video games, adoption, street children, and feral children.
Contents: Daniel Thomas Cook: Introduction: Interrogating Symbolic Childhood – Harriet Strandell: On Questions of Representation in Childhood Ethnography – Mary Lorena Kenny: Orators and Outcasts, Wanderers and Workers: Street Children in Brazil – Adriana S. Benzaquén: John, Genie, and Kaspar: Some Recent Scientific Uses of Wildness, Confinement, and Abuse – Roblyn Rawlins: «Long Rows of Short Graves»: Sentimentality, Science, and Child-Saving in the Construction of the Intellectually Precocious Child, 1870-1925 – Kathryn Libal: Realizing Modernity Through the Robust Turkish Child, 1923-1938 – Janice Hill: Governing Children: The Boy Scouts, the Girl Guides, and Visions of Canadian Nationhood, 1880-1921 – Sara K. Dorow: «China ‘R’ Us»?: Care, Consumption, and Transnationally Adopted Children – Mark D. Jacobs: The School Shooting as a Ritual of Sacrifice – Susan B. Kaiser/Kathleen Huun: Fashioning Innocence and Anxiety: Clothing, Gender, and Symbolic Childhood – Jeffery P. Dennis: The Heterosexualization of Boyhood – Chandra Mukerji/Tarleton Gillespie: Recognizable Ambiguity: Cartoon Imagery and American Childhood in Animaniacs – Stephen Kline/Greig de Peuter: Ghosts in the Machine: Postmodern Childhood, Video Gaming, and Advertising.