Rituals In Children’s Cultures Of Consumption

Erika Anne Hayfield, John Davis, Dave Marsden

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Consumption in children’s cultures is a much debated topic. Yet, few attempts have been made to understand consumer culture from children’s own perspective, to investigate the positive aspects of children’s relationships with consumer goods, and/or to examine how the meanings attached to goods are negotiated, played out and shaped in children’s diverse cultures. This paper addresses this gap by employing data from informal interviews and participant observation to discuss children’s experiences of consumer cultures. The paper is based on data from a year-long ethnographic study of children (aged 3-5, 6-8 and 10-11) from two contrasting areas in one region of Scotland (one relatively affluent area and one relatively deprived area). The ethnographic data highlights the importance of consumption in children’s cultures. The paper examines consumption rituals, artefacts and symbols within the context of the different values, beliefs and concerns that children produce and share with others. It concludes that cultures of consumption impact on children in both divisive and integrative ways and that more efforts should be made by those that work with and for children to harness their integrative potential.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - 2005
EventChildhoods: Children and youth in emerging and transforming societies - University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
Duration: 29 Jun 20053 Jul 2005


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  • Childhood
  • Consumption
  • Rituals


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