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Publication - Professor Dale Southerton

    Bringing children (and parents) into the sociology of consumption

    Towards a theoretical and empirical agenda


    Martens, L, Southerton, D & Scott, S, 2004, ‘Bringing children (and parents) into the sociology of consumption: Towards a theoretical and empirical agenda’. Journal of Consumer Culture, vol 4., pp. 155-182


    The sociology of consumption pays relatively little detailed and systematic theoretical attention to children, while the sociology of childhood tends to view children's consumption through what can be called the 'production of consumption' approach. This is surprising given the range of empirical and theoretical debate in the sociology of consumption, where 'mode of consumption','consumption as aesthetics' and 'material culture' represent a further three approaches. By bringing together the sociologies of childhood and consumption, a framework for empirical research is advanced. Four inter-related themes are suggested: learning to consume; lifestyle and identity formation; children's engagements with material culture; and the parent-child relationship. It is argued that such a framework offers scope to further understandings of how cultures of consumption impact on children, children and parents, and construct notions of childhood. A focus on children's consumption also represents an opportunity to clarify key processes of influential theories of social change.

    Full details in the University publications repository