The Co-Construction of Media and Childhood

Authored by: Kirsten Drotner

The Routledge International Handbook of Children, Adolescents and Media

Print publication date:  May  2013
Online publication date:  July  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415783682
eBook ISBN: 9780203366981
Adobe ISBN: 9781134060559


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Charting ways in which mass media represent children and ways in which the media orchestrate claims about children’s uses of new media offers analytical prisms through which we may address wider societal discourses of, and contestations over, what counts as proper media and proper childhood and youth. Such discourses are powerful frames within which children’s actual media practices play out, and the discourses are therefore important to understand if we want a full insight into children’s relations to media. My main claim, which I will substantiate in the following, is that modernity witnesses an ongoing co-construction of mass media, childhood and youth. Media are at once material and symbolic social resources (Carey, [1989]1992) whose main characteristic is their semiotic properties. So, media are not merely conduits for the transmission of information, they are institutionally embedded meaning-making tools that connect people across time and space (Thompson, 1995).

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