Children’s Culture Industry

What is meant by the term ‘children’s culture industry’ depends on the context in which it is used. In such disciplines as economics and marketing, or in national and international forums on labour and industry, it is a neutral term denoting companies involved in producing toys, books, television, films, digital games, clothing, collectibles, and experiences for children. In social theory, the term takes on a critical connotation derived from two sources—the Frankfurt School critique of the ‘culture industry’, on the one hand, and what Daniel Thomas Cook has called the moral project of childhood, on the other. This discussion will first consider the different meanings of ‘culture’ evoked by the term ‘children’s culture’, provide a brief outline of the history of industrial production of children’s ...

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