In this comprehensive collection of essays, most of which appear for the first time, eminent scholars from many disciplines—philosophy, economics, sociology, political science, demography, theology, history, and social psychology—examine the causes, nature, and consequences of present-day consumption patterns in the United States and throughout the world.
Children's exposure to food marketing has exploded in recent years, along with rates of obesity and overweight. Children of color and low-income children are disproportionately at risk for both marketing exposure and becoming overweight.Comprehensive reviews of the literature show that advertising is effective in changing children's food preferences and diets.This paper surveys the scope and scale of current marketing practices, and focuses on the growing use of symbolic appeals that are central in food brands to themes such as finding an (...) identity and feeling powerful and in control.These themes are so potent because they are central to children in their development and constitution of self. The paper concludes that reduction of exposure to marketing will be a central part of any successfu anti-obesity strategy. (shrink)
It is now well recognized that the United States is a consumer-driven society. Private consumption comprises a rising fraction of GDP, advertising is proliferating, and consumerism, as an ideology and set of values, is widespread. Not surprisingly, those developments are not confined to adults; they also characterize what some have called “the commercialization of childhood.” Children are more involved than ever in media, celebrity, shopping, brand names, and other consumer practices. At the core of this change is children's growing role (...) as independent consumers. In recent years, children's access to income has risen markedly, and they have gone from being purchasers of cheap plastic goods and a few select food items to being a major market for a diverse set of goods and services, including foodstuffs. Unofficial estimates suggest that children aged four to twelve spent a reported $6.1 billion in purchases from their own money in 1989, $23.4 billion in 1997, and $30 billion in 2002, for a total increase of four hundred percent. (shrink)
Taking Parenting Public makes a compelling case that parenting has become dangerously undervalued in America today. It calls for a new investment—both personal and public—into the work of raising children and argues that we are all "stockholders" in the next generation. With a foreword by Sylvia Ann Hewlett and Cornel West, Taking Parenting Public crosses boundaries to bring together thinkers from diverse fields spanning the political spectrum. It features contributions from distinguished experts in economics, political science, public policy, child development, (...) public health, history, and the media. While recent books have focused on working mothers or absent fathers, Taking Parenting Public is the first volume to take a comprehensive look at the common struggles of parents. These essays go beyond the usual chest-beating about busy parents torn between work and family demands to suggest bold solutions. Instead of the typical call for "parent replacement"—more child care, more after school programs and more mentors—the contributors offer fresh strategies for "parent replenishment," ways to put mothers and fathers back into the lives of their children not only as economic providers, but also as emotional and moral providers. (shrink)