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The business of turning children into consumers: A diachronic analysis of the symbolic exchange of goods and services in advertisements in a Swedish comic book
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Scandinavian Languages.
2008 (English)In: Bridging Discourses: ASFLA 2007 online proceedings, 2008Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The child as a consumer is not a new concept but a changing one. This paper discusses the development of discourses around Swedish child consumers during the 20th century. The data comprise advertisements from the Swedish comic book Donald Duck & Co from the 1940s through the 1980s. The methodology is inspired by the systemic functional linguistic view of basic speech functions; an analysis of how child readers are incorporated in the symbolic exchange of goods and services through the use of commands and offers is presented. One finding is that child readers of early texts are ascribed little power over their own consumption. They are commanded and/or offered a chance to ‘compete’, to ‘win’, and to ‘mail’, but rarely to make direct consumer decisions. In the 1980s, a more competent child consumer can be discerned, commanded to ‘buy’ and to make independent consumer decisions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
discourse history, discourse of advertising, children’s consumer culture, speech functions, speech acts, offers, commands, Disney, Swedish
National Category
Specific Languages
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-14370OAI: diva2:180890
Available from: 2008-09-08 Created: 2008-09-08Bibliographically approved

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Björkvall, Anders
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Department of Scandinavian Languages
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ReferencesLink to record
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