Kids′ Media Culture

Kids′  Media Culture

Console-ing Passions: Television and Cultural Power

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Book Pages: 352 Illustrations: 33 b&w photographs, 8 figures, Published: January 2000

Cultural Studies, Gender and Sexuality > Feminism and Women’s Studies, Media Studies

Television shows, comic strips, video games, and other forms of media directed at children are the subject of frequent and rancorous debate. In Kids’ Media Culture some of the most prominent cultural theorists of children’s media join forces with exciting new voices in the field to consider the production and consumption of media aimed at children. What’s good for kids and what’s merely exploitive? Are shows that attempt to level the socioeconomic playing field by educating children effective? The essays in this anthology tackle these questions and pose provocative new questions of their own.
As part of their argument that children’s reactions to mass media are far more complex and dynamic than previously thought, contributors examine the rise of mass media in postwar America. They explore how books, cartoons, and television shows of the 1950s and 1960s—such as Lassie and Dennis the Menace—helped redefine American identity and export an image of a particularly American optimism and innocence worldwide. Other essays take up the controversies surrounding such shows as Sesame Street, My So-Called Life, and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. After discussing the differences in how children and adults react to such programs, the collection focuses on television in schools and the ways that mass media convey messages about gender and socialization.
Kids’ Media Culture makes clear that children are active, engaged participants in the media culture surrounding them. This volume will be compelling reading for those interested in television and cultural studies as well as anyone interested in children’s education and welfare.

. Heather Gilmour, Sean Griffin, Heather Hendershot, Henry Jenkins, Yasmin B. Kafai, Jyotsna Kapur, Marsha Kinder, Susan Murray, Elissa Rashkin, Ellen Seiter, Lynn Spigel, Karen Orr Vered


“[T]his book is not simply an uncritical celebration of television. Rather, the contributors rigorously critique TV’s sexism, nationalism, and ethnocentrism, as well as its sometimes shady behind-the-scenes production practices.” — Heather Hendershot, Lingua Franca

“Kinder’s Kids’ Media Culture supports the spirit of informed debate about the role of media in contemporary life—most espeically in respect of the use its primary users put it to. The contributions of Gilmour and Kafai, on the intersections between gender and computer/video gaming, are good examples of this. I recommend this collection highly.” — Geoff Lealand , Resource Center for Cyberculture Studies

“Rich with information and cultural analysis, these essays reveal the inadequacy of the simple binary oppositions that usually plague discussions of television and children.” — Lucy Rollin, Children's Literature Association Quarterly

Kids’ Media Culture is a significant contribution to one of the most important and fastest growing areas of scholarly concern in media and cultural studies—the theory and history of childhood and adolescence. An extremely impressive range of topics are covered: different media and consumption practices, different historical periods, and considerations of the complexities of gender, class, and race.” — Eric Smoodin, author of Animating Culture: Hollywood Cartoons from the Sound Era


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Marsha Kinder is Professor of Critical Studies in the School of Cinema-Television at the University of Southern California. She is the author of a number of books, including Playing with Power in Movies, Television, and Video Games andRefiguring Spain: Cinema/Media/Representation, also published by Duke University Press.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments ix

Kids' Media Culture: An Introduction / Marsha Kinder 1

I. Children's Media Culture in the Postwar Era

Innocence Abroad: The Geopolitics of Childhood in Postwar Kid Strips / Lynn Spigel 31

"Her Suffering Aristocratic Majesty": The Sentimental Value of Lassie / Henry Jenkins 69

Kings of the Wild Backyard: Davy Crockett and Children's Space / Sean Griffin 102

Out of Control: Television and the Transformation of Childhood in Late Capitalism / Jyotsna Kapur 122

II. Reception and Cultural Identity

Sesame Street: Cognition and Communications Imperialism / Heather Hendershot 139

Ranging with Power on the Fox Kids Network: Or, Where on Earth is Children's Educational Television / Marsha Kinder 177

Xuxa S.A.: The Queen of Rede Globo in the Age of Transnational Capitalism / Elissa Rashkin 204

Saving Our So-Called Lives: Girl Fandom, Adolescent Subjectivity, and My So-Called Life / Susan Murray 221

III. Pedagogy and Power

Power Rangers at Preschool: Negotiating Media in Child Care Settings / Ellen Seiter 239

What Girls Want: The Intersections of Leisure and Power in Female Computer Game Play / Heather Gilmour 263

Video Game Designs by Girls and Boys: Variability and Consistency of Gender Differences / Yasmin B. Kafai 293

Selective Bibliography on Children's Media Culture / Karen Orr Vered 317

Contributors 323

Index 325
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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-2371-6 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-2350-1
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