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Article Type: Editorial From: Young Consumers, Volume 14, Issue 4
Welcome to the last issue of Young Consumers for 2013. All the papers you read here were originally presented at a conference on Child and Teen Consumption 2012; Food Consumption, Communication, Life Styles and Fashion held at Libera Università di Lingue e Comunicazione, Milan, Italy in December last year. Usually called CTC, these conferences have been held every two years starting with CTC2004 in Angoulême, France. These papers have been selected by our usual process of peer review and there will be more of them in our next issue in 2014.
2014 is also the year when the 6th CTC conference will be held. Check us out on http://www.business-school.ed.ac.uk/ctc2014/call-for-papers/ Anyone who is interested in the field of children and teen consumption, whether practitioner, academic or policy-maker, is welcome to register and attend. These conferences are seriously multidisciplinary but what unites us is an interest in consumption and how consumption practices illuminate our vision of children and childhood both being and becoming. This year it will be held at the University of Edinburgh and you are assured of a warm Scottish welcome!
Turning now to this first batch of papers from CTC2012, we start with a conceptual piece by Dávila Blázquez and Juan Francisco from Spain who looked at the various underlying factors and measures of materialism in children in the context of a literature review and critique of the concept of materialism. It provides useful background for the advanced student as well as illustrating issues in a refreshing way for the researcher. The authors not only tell a good story with a clear and lively narrative but also provide summaries of the assessments and findings from the literature.
Food issues come up regularly in our journal and this issue is no exception. Children eat in various different situations each with their own local mix of contextual influences and they can be seen to constitute sites where identity issues are contested and negotiated. Ana Horta and her colleagues from Portugal have examined, in detail and in depth, one such site where food is consumed by children - the school canteen. This exploratory study raises important issues about school meals and the tension between commercial off-site attractions and in-school presentation. The pathology of food consumption is well represented by a paper from Teresa Castro who is also from Portugal. Anorexia is a clinical condition with severe consequences and one of the contributory factors is distorted body image and body dissatisfaction. She analysed the blogs of adolescents who validated their own pro-anorexic lifestyle and provides a sensitive and insightful analysis of identity issues and cultural pressures that surround these dysfunctional behaviours.
Two French papers provide in-depth analyses of childrens goods. Pascale Garnier has done a semiotic analysis of objects related to childrens activities; childrens things such as skateboard, ball, bike, golf club and so on. In addition to exploring age differences she discovered two transformations in her analysis – childrens games became related to the theme of sports and sports correspondingly became transformed to become more childlike. Gilles Brougère has been researching the rhetoric of objects suitable for children and in his paper he uses two attributions – the cute and the cool. This sophisticated and insightful analysis using examples from French childrens culture will give the reader an understanding of the some of the work of this prolific and well-known researcher.
Ariela Mortara and Simona Ironico from Italy are interested in one particular youth tribe called “Emo and they conducted an ethnographic study or “netnography that has been used in consumer research on brand communities Insights into Emo lifestyle and aesthetics are found in this paper together with the authors analysis of the system of meanings underneath the rituals Emos share through the Web. And last but not least a paper on economic socialisation by Erika Lundby from Sweden. Money is used by adults not just to buy stuff but also to leverage social advantage such as influence, power and also friendship. Do children understand this symbolic function of money? Erika used qualitative analysis of childrens drawings to explore this question in both nine-year-old and 12-year-old children. Her work helps us understand how this important use of money develops in the growing child.
I hope you enjoy these papers and many thanks to all our reviewers and contributors without whom these regular issues would not be possible.