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Conclusion - Values and Limitations of the Modern Child devi

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Cécile Armand

on 29 June 2014

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Transcript of Conclusion - Values and Limitations of the Modern Child devi

Conclusion: Values and Limitations of the
Modern Child
device and the Modern Child/Girl connection

A helper to conceptualize childhood in Modern China and America
An unique opportunity to examine the Modern/New Man?
An alternative entrée into women and gender history
An invitation to revisit the very notion of modernity?
Values
Limitations
Childhood = Modernity?
A sense of difference/otherness

Modernity
Childhood
Transitory, fugitive, contingent (...), constantly subject to renewal
Modernity
Childhood
From the premodern despise of "the new" to the "modern" cult of newness since the late 19th
Modernity
Childhood
A discrete age/period of life

Different from/sometimes contrary to adulthood
Fer, 1993: 3-49
Mittler, 1998: 217
Transitional
Unpredictable

A more or less short stage in the process of growing up and becoming an adult, human, responsible citizen...

Mittler 1998: 217
From the premodern ignorance of children
to the modern
"discovery of childhood" to the "cult of childhood"


Ariès 1960
Boas, 1966

Mittler 1998: 217
Through the sundial of women-children relationships
Through his relationships to children and the asymmetric polarization
fatherhood
/
manhood
99%*
1%*
*Estimated figures for 1920-1950
America/China boundary
Absence/presence of mothers/women
AMF
CMF
American Modern Father
Chinese Modern Father
Foremost Milk, 1930
Blaming irresponsible fathers
Sun-Maid Raisins, 1928
Childish Husbands or Patriarchal Sons?
Sun-Maid Raisins, 1928
A Tenderly Chinese Father
Quaker Oats, 1929
A father carefully feeding his baby
The Rat Cigarettes, 1933
Fathers helping children
to cross forbidden territories
(smoking)
Institute of Life Insurance, 1948
Fathers helping children
to cross forbidden territories
(money)
Aunt Jemina, 1931
Children threatening manhood?
Children and husbands competing for
their mother's/wife's attention
Sun-Maid Raisins, 1928
Childish Husbands
A lonely father at a loss, 1933
Childish Husbands
Three Castles cigarettes, 1920
Children threatening manhood?
Are fatherhood and romantic love
Mutually exclusive?
Traditional vs Modern Fatherhood, 1932
Were American Fathers More Conservative than Chinese ones?
Separation line between women or mothers/children
The Modern Girl &
the missing child
The New Woman & the threatening child
The Modern Housewife & the future child?
The Mother-to-be?
The Young Mother of a single baby
The Expert Mother
of several children
3. Children
on the road to independence
The Ageing Mother
of grown-ups
At home
At school
At summer/scouting camp
Dating
Marrying
2. Women
among children
90°-180°
1. Women
without children
0°-90°
4. From separation
to exclusion
Female appropriation of children's bodies
Female appropriation of children's imaginary
Commodification
of children to attract female consumers (baby/child appeal)


GoldTop, 1932
Nanyang Brothers, 1919
Sun-Maid Raisins, 1928
Lactogen, 1930s
Instant Postum, 1931
Zhiying Studio, 1930s
Kodak, c. 1922
Foramint, 1931
Keds' shoes, 1926
Fleischmann's Yeast, 1937
Listerine, 1931
Cupid, 1930s
Two-baby Cigarettes, 1921

90°
180°
270°
4 quarters = 4 modes of women-children relationship
Intermediary states - subcategories of relationships
Case study (brand/company name, date)
Gradual evolution from separation-exclusion to closeness-complicity and reversely
The Child's process of growing up through advertising
Snow-White, 1939
CONCEPT
(problem of the singular form)
Modern Childhood,
Modern
ChildhoodS
Various ages/stages
within the broad category of childhood
Definitions of childhood vary across times and places, depend on various criteria: war and crisis, citizenship and nationalisme, technology and science, demographic trends and family models, gender and social class, location (city vs countryside, Shanghai vs the rest of China...), advertised commodities (product types, companies, brands)...
Gradual stages
from birth to adulthood, divided by major
life events
and
cycles
and by the biological/familial/social functions of children
(growing up, walking, going to school, marrying...)
Historical changes/
social mutations of childhood
No serious attempt has been made here for
periodizing
and drawing a solid timeframe for modern childhood
3 assumptions need to be tested:
An increasing interest and a refining care
for children
in the first half of the 20th century
for revealing and accelearating the Modern Child's phenomenon
The central role of wars
A shift/enrichment from childhood to youth
during the interwar years
Accompanied by a parallel shift of the values associated each group: from plaything to
fun
, from sport to
fitness
, innocence to
rebellion
...

Accompanied by a simultaneous emergence of
the
third

age

= an increased attention to
the age fringes of societies
Societies' contradictory attitudes toward children
As for modernity itself,
interwar societies were torn between
= the invention of
youth
to solve the dilemma?
The desire to
protect
children = slowing down the process of growing up and entering adulhood
The desire to make children
responsible
at an earlier age = especially toward
money
and
nation
, through
war
and
consumption
Various slices of life
Various definitions
of childhood
MATERIALS
2 main bias
Advertisement as a "
distorted mirror
"
(Pang, 2003)
But where/when/how
does the distorsion really work?
What "distorsion" means
Commercial
representations
of children
A
multi-biased
view of children,
mediated
by
Adults
Men
Elites
Urbans
Foreigners/Westerners (in Shanghai)
betraying their own
experience
and
the actual social
practices
of the time
How to overcome distorsion?
By
separating
the
process
of making ad (
advertising
= a secret machinery)
from its
products/results
(the 'distorted'
advertisements
finally adressed to
actual
consumers)

By
discriminating
among the
wide range of materials
produced during the process and the commercial campaigns (campaign plans, consumers' polls, market research, statistical data, press review...)
The only way to
evaluate
the very
extent
of the alleged distorsion and to examine its discrete
forms
?
An inevitable gap between China/America
Linguistical barrier
Availability of the materials
Chinese scarcity vs US overabundance
from advertising companies
Do we have such valuable market research and other materials to document the advertising process as we have in the US?
AMM
AMM
CMM
Chinese Modern Man
American Modern Man
CMM
AMF
CMF
WAR/DEATH
WAR/DEATH
DISEASE
PAINS
AGEING
DISEASE
PAINS
AGEING
WORK
MONEY
WORK
MONEY
SMOKING/DRINKING
Leisure/Pleasure, Love/Sex
Nash-Kelvinator
c. 1941
Dr. Williams
1926
Doan
1915

Shanghai Telephone Company
1932
Chesterfield
1927

Lucky Strike
1951
ScotTissue Towels
1931
Fleischmann
c. 1921
MEN'S TERRITORIES
USA/China boundary
MG/MC's subterritories
Science
American/Chinese Modern Girl
American/Chinese Modern Child
A/CMC
A/CMG
Leisure/Fun
Enclaves/exclaves
Import/export, borrowing/extraction
Restricted Zones
A "negative" definition through the delimitation of MG/MC's exclusive territories
(1) Domestic/daily life
(MG2) Smoking/drinking
Leisure/entertainement
(MG1) Street/night life
(2) Playing/having fun
(MG3) Seduction/romantic love/sex
(3) Education/school
(MG4) Individual sports/
Fitness
(MC4) Team sports/
Physical education
AMG
AMC
CMG
CMC
Adults' territories
Men's territories
Men's territories
Adults' territories
(MGC5) Science
Health/Hygiene
(MGC6) Nationalism
(MGC6)
Patriotism
MG/MC dividing line
Death
Disease
Work
Money
War
Children's
imaginary
Cigarettes
Men/Adults
Foremost Milk
1930
Keds' shoes
1927
Institute for
Life Insurance 1948
1930
Snow-White,
1939
CMG
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