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Commerce in US schools: four dominant perspectives

Vanessa Domine (Montclair State University, Montclair, New Jersey, USA)

Society and Business Review

ISSN: 1746-5680

Article publication date: 13 February 2007




This paper seeks to provide a systematic understanding of the controversy surrounding commerce in US schools.


The paper surveys the history, research and policies related to commerce in schooling (1890‐2005) within the USA. The literature is organized according to four emergent US perspectives – protectionist, celebrant, cultural critic, and educated consumer.


The review finds that dominant US assumptions of commercial media subscribe to a stimulus‐response model of learning, rather than an active model of young people as constructing their own experiences with commercial media. Much of the research and many of the policies about commercial media in schools reflect adult assumptions about how young people learn, rather than provide empirical research about how young people actually interact with commercial texts while in school. The paper questions an excessive emphasis on the texts and technologies of instruction and calls for more empirical research that is grounded in theories of social constructivism, symbolic interactionism, and media education.

Research limitations/implications

The four dominant media perspectives generated through this review of literature are limited to the USA.

Practical implications

A useful review of literature and schema to inform the understanding of educators, policy makers, and researchers as to the dominant US perspectives about commercial media and the education of young people. The schema can be used as a springboard for research and inquiry into the perspectives and policies of commercial practices and education in other countries.


This paper contextualizes nearly a century of research on commercial media and the education of youth in the USA, and provides a historical and theoretical context for researching education, technology and commerce in the USA and other countries.



Domine, V. (2007), "Commerce in US schools: four dominant perspectives", Society and Business Review, Vol. 2 No. 1, pp. 98-120.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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