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Beyond Patronizing Representations? The healthy child in Flanders from 1950 until 2000 within the tension field of commercial and pedagogic information sources

vrijdag, 9 maart, 2012 - 15:00
Campus: Brussels Humanities, Sciences & Engineering campus
Faculteit: Arts and Philosophy
D
0.07
Nele Van Den Cruyce
doctoraatsverdediging

This research focuses on the process of norm building within society within the tension field of
commercial and pedagogic information sources. The main research question aims at gaining
insight into how society attributes meaning to the notion of the healthy child - i.e. how society
believes a child ought to be and what it needs in order for it to be considered healthy (physically,
mentally and socially) - in the Post World War context in Flanders.

The first chapter firstly reflects on different approaches to sociological thought on children and
childhood. The prevalence of the structural dimension and the dominance of generationing within
social sciences are thereby contrasted to the new paradigm of the sociology of children and
childhood. It is then argued that the new paradigm excessively focuses on children’s own life
world and their agency which prohibits the discipline from investing in other research angles and
developing theory at a macro level. Looking into representational research is thereby presented
as an alternative way forward.

A second chapter presents an overview of how the sentimental approach to children evolved over
time, reaching its zenith in the twentieth century when the traditional more sentimental perception
of children is starting to be challenged, especially by the emergence of the scripts of the capable
child agent and the child consumer.

Finally, in the empirical part, representations of the healthy child are researched within
advertisements and expert texts in order to gain insight into how meaning is attributed to the
notion of the healthy child within the tension field of commercial and pedagogic information
sources.