Chapter

Rethinking Innocence

Gary Cross

in The Cute and the Cool

Published in print May 2004 | ISBN: 9780195156669
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199868254 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195156669.003.0007
 						Rethinking Innocence

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Innocence may define the modern child, but it has done so with great ambiguity. One version of the innocent presumes virginal sanctity in the spontaneous child, the other, a vulnerable but malleable creature on a course to maturity. All this has left modern parents rehearsing again and again the same frustrations as they endlessly shift between permissiveness in search of the self-actualizing youngster and control in an effort to mold the superchild. There is no simple solution to the dilemma, and any answer will require us to go beyond conventional child-rearing strategies to thinking about how adults use children to cope with their own contradictions. The commercialization of wonder was a product of aggressive marketing, revolutionary media, and an increasingly child-centered, child-indulgent family. Is there any alternative to the path from the cute to the cool? This depends on whether wonder can be separated from commercialism.

Keywords: innocence; children; parents; child rearing; commercialism; wonder; marketing; family; cute; cool

Chapter.  7006 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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