Presentation on theme: "The Need For Theory in Children’s Studies. Nothing Is As Simple As It Appears From here there is no turning back…"— Presentation transcript:
The Need For Theory in Children’s Studies
Nothing Is As Simple As It Appears From here there is no turning back…
So What Will You Choose? take the blue pill and return to your ordinary everyday lives OR take the red pill and see how deep the rabbit hole goes.
Representation Who has voice and who does not
Images, Images Everywhere! over abundance of images surround us we cant immediately decode all of the messages Therefore we naturalize! when an image is familiar and repeated we categorize it as “natural” allowing it “in”- without further decoding Examples…
Big questions: Is this what we have done with representations of race, class, gender, sexuality, age, and ability in the media? Have stereotypes of social variables taken on a life of their own, so as to become the only representation of the variables allowed and/or accepted in the media?
Discourses: Defn: 1) verbal interchange of ideas; especially conversation 2) a formal and orderly and usually extended expression of thought on a subject 3) a mode of organizing knowledge, ideas, of experience that is rooted in language and its concrete contexts (as history or institutions)
Discourses are: The way we talk about stuff There can be more than one discourse associated with a subject Ie/ york u. home page http//:www.yorku.ca
A symbol is always just a symbol Description (in any form- film, literature, advertising, etc) can never fully explain its subject A symbol only represents and never IS Its iconic: defn: it represents an object but has none of its properties
What is this?
representation The picture of the cow represents the cows but it doesn’t “represent” – It is not a cow Ie/ what we see on TV cannot really represent itself (the dog that can bark but not bite)
representation Representation: defn: 1) one that represents: as an artistic likeness or image 2) a statement or account made to influence opinion or action
Representation Discourses are how we use language to represent the ideas, ideologies, and values of a culture. Often these representations are not based on fact or truth but instead on stereotypes and assumptions The problem is when these representations become the norm. i.e. Frozone or The Frog Princess
Pierre Bourdieu In Distinction explains how an accent works to maintain class distinction Moves the idea of distinction away from economic to cultural Suggests that lifestyles are the big distinguishers
capital Usually refers to money/land Is really about power relations We already know power relations are unequal According to Bourdieu, capital, can be more than economic- it can be symbolic
Types of Capital Economic capital Cultural capital Political capital Etc.
Where Bourdieu meets up with us Cultural capital has replaced economic capital as the space where distinction happens The difference is still economic BUT it is made REAL through culture It is legitimated through culture It is our lifestyles which distinguish and determine who is better than others and Who has power
THE POINT: all discourses are rooted in language and history: The way we talk about things is based on: A particular history A particular worldview A particular power relationship
Therefore with regards to children and children’s studies: How a society talks about its children- tells us a lot about that society’s Values Culture Priorities Inherent Power Structures
THE PROBLEM WITH: The authentic voice of the child This is why the authentic voice of the child is so difficult to hear BECAUSE too many of a societies discourses about “childhood” are focused on what adults THINK about children and what they WANT childhood to be
This is what makes representation an issue. Discourses about children are symbols they reflect adult desires and fears about society through representing childhood as either: a) innocent, pure, and in need of protection, or b) bad, evil, and in need of surveillance and salvation.
Why Marx? Why Gramsci? Why Althussier? We need a criteria to judge society We need a starting point We need a specimen
In This Course equality is our criteria the beginning of “childhood” is our starting point children’s right are our specimen
Scope Over the next month we will examine the social construction of: Race Class Gender Sexuality, etc. Around ideas on representation, discourse, ideology, and oppression And argue that age is also a social variable, which requires a critical theory
OR to put it more simply: We are interested in the making, marking, and maintaining of the social inequalities of the adult/child relationship
Marx and Engels: “the making” ruling ideas represent interests of ruling class ruling class = economic power & access to system of production those with money, education, power, and access find their ideas, hopes, dreams, & ambitions: most represented “the norm” i.e. Sammond’s “Generic Child” *representation is NEVER proportionate*representation is NEVER proportionate
in terms of size (#s) Other Ruling class
In terms of power (voice) Ruling Class/Dominant Ideology Other voices
Definition in relation to DI Dominant Ideology sexuality race class gender
Definition in relation to DI D.I race classgendersexuality race class race sexuality gender sexuality
Gramsci: “the marking” Gramsci told us what is ideology, how ideology is constructed in different periods of history. laid out the dangers of: a) overlooking power relations in discourses b) seeing ideology as natural, innocent, stupid, etc. *Dr. Seuss & At the Airport*
Althusser: “the maintaining” ISAs and RSAs Repressive State Apparatus The govt. Military Police Uses violence to maintain order ISAs- Ideological State Apparatus Education Religion Family Uses ideology to maintain order
Althusser Both ISAs and RSAs use a double functioning That is both use ideology and violence/repression to maintain order The difference is which one is dominant RSA- violence is dominant ISAs- Ideology is dominant
Althusser, discourse, representation and the politics of children To be political a person must first be aware: ideology works on two levels: Explicit and implicit (obvious and hidden) The more obvious it is the more dangerous it is This ideology is at play in everything around us (no one is outside of it) Words and symbols hold enormous power All the images we see in ads, movies, TV, magazines, etc. are always meaning more than simply what they portray A can of Coke is never simply a can of Coke
Task : Examine the oppression around you- in your own life- what does it look like? Make a collage of all of the symbols/icons/images in your life that shape, alter, or influence your actions as an adult. On the back of the collage, answer the following questions: 1) how do these icons affect you? 2) which symbols are from your childhood?