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March 27 , 2011

Portrayals of Children in Popular Culture

Fleeting Images


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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