The Material Child

//The Material Child

The Material Child

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By | 2012-12-09T14:24:47+00:00 December 9th, 2012|Tempe Marketing|1 Comment

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  1. Anonymous December 9, 2012 at 2:51 pm
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Concerned about media effects? Read this, October 3, 2012
    This review is from: The Material Child (Paperback)

    If I were conducting a Congressional hearing on media effects and could only call one witness, it would be David Buckingham. Buckingham is a luminary of media literacy education in the UK and this book shows why. The author delivers scholarly, reasoned arguments that acknowledge the complexity of the topics he addresses.
    In style, his arguments are almost Talmudic, laying out an array of alternatives before finally presenting the view that he believes should hold sway. That’s because Buckingham is as interested in how problems are constructed as he is in answers. He rejects painting children as victims, deftly balancing the notion that children have “agency” with market and political limits on authentic choice. Refusing to see children as if they are somehow separate from society, he examines the complex ways that children (and their parents) negotiate the cultures in which they live, including reminders that there have been significant historical shifts in the construction of childhood. As a result, there is great value in this book, even if you don’t live in the UK or agree with Buckingham’s specific positions on the issues he reviews.
    Buckingham’s approach is a welcome alternative to the polemic and reductionist approaches so common to claims about media and children. He challenges researchers and cultural critics to lay their cards on the table in terms of assumptions about childhood, culture, and class. For example, his discussion of childhood obesity raises questions about the role of pr from the weight loss and pharmaceutical industries, the cultural meanings of food and shared meals, and even the opportunity that problematizing weight creates to impose supervision on the poor (who, as a group, have higher obesity rates than their wealthier counterparts).
    Throughout, Buckingham is careful to draw out the impact of socioeconomic class on the way that issues play out in the real world. Using Buckingham’s approach to follow arguments to their logical conclusions, it’s hard not wonder why the voices demanding a ban on advertising to children and aren’t calling for an end to capitalism as well.
    Finally, this is an important book for media literacy educators. By asking questions about purpose, authorship, and impact of those engaged in debates about media effects on children, Buckingham challenges those who propose media literacy education as a way to provide immunity from cultural influences that they don’t like. The background he provides in these pages explains why media literacy has to be focused on education and critical thinking rather than inoculation.

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