External Postings

As research and practice within the field of children, adolescents, and media continues to grow, so do the opportunities for our CAM members.  This page is regularly updated with information about relevant Call for Papers, position announcements, and other relevant information.  If you have information that you would like to share with the CAM community, please Contact Us.

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Call for Papers

Call for Chapter Proposals – Children’s Toys and Consumer Culture: Critical Perspectives on the Marketing of Children’s Play

Edited by Rebecca C. Hains and Nancy A. Jennings

Toy marketing warrants a sustained scholarly critique because of toys’ cultural significance and their roles in children’s lives, as well as the industry’s economic importance and ideological influence. According to the International Council of Toy Industries, in the first half of 2018 alone, the toy industry reached $18.4 billion in sales, with Mexico, Brazil, and the USA boasting the fastest growth rates. LEGO and Disney — two companies that specialize in producing transmedia texts and children’s toys — regularly top Brand Finance’s lists of the world’s strongest brands, alongside brands like Apple, Twitter, and Ferrari. (Both LEGO and Disney made the top 10 list in 2018.) Meanwhile, discourses surrounding toys — including who certain toys are meant for and what various toys and brands can signify about their owners’ identities — have implications for our understandings of adults’ expectations of children and of broader societal norms into which children are being socialized.

In the proposed volume, we will apply cultural studies perspectives informed by critical theory to the marketing of a variety of toys and toy companies. Drawing upon diverse disciplinary backgrounds to critique the commodification of children’s play, we will examine the history of the marketing of children’s toys and play; analyze contemporary issues, examples, and trends in the industry; and consider audience reception of and cultural discourse surrounding children’s toys and play.

Scholars are invited to submit proposals consisting of a 350-word abstract and a 150-word bio by March 1, 2019 to the editors at rhains@salemstate.edu and jenninna@ucmail.uc.edu with the subject line “Children’s Toys and Consumer Culture.” The editors will notify prospective authors of their decisions by April 1, 2019. Full chapters will be due by December 1, 2019, with revisions and final drafts to be scheduled for Spring 2020. Ideas for possible chapter topics are listed below.

History:

  • The rise of gender marketing in children’s toys
  • The history of children’s television deregulation and the shift from education to sales in children’s programming
  • Children’s toys and moral panics
  • The history of children as consumers
  • Toy advertising in the golden age of radio / Toy catalogs / “Big Book of Toys”
  • Evolution of some/all of the five major players in the toy industry (Mattel, Namco Bandai, Lego, Hasbro, and/or Jakks Pacific)
  • Toy industry advertising regulations (e.g., the Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU); differences in advertising policies internationally).
  • Toy industry regulations / legal concerns

Analysis of contemporary issues, examples, trends:

  • How ability/disability is conveyed in children’s toys
  • Toys in relation to television programming / films (Toy Story) / web content / various media franchises
  • The social construction of race and gender in children’s toys
  • Smart toys and the Internet of Toys / Digital play
  • The role of toys in perpetuating cultural hegemony
  • Hierarchies of children’s toy categories
  • Implications of the rise and demise of Toys R Us / FAO Schwartz
  • Corporate social responsibility in the toy industry
  • “Pinkwashing,” “Greenwashing,” and/or “Goodwashing” as toy marketing techniques
  • Interviews with members of toy/media industry
  • Analysis of Toy Industry of America and/or its Toy of the Year awards
  • Political economy of the children’s toy industry / the toy retail ecosystem
  • Gatekeeping in the toy industry (who makes decisions, who has power)
  • Toy guns and weapon play
  • Rise of retro toys / Collectible toys / specific toy trends (Cabbage Patch Dolls, My Little Pony, Furbies, Tickle-me-Elmo)

Audience reception and cultural discourse:

  • Children’s negotiations of issues of representation/inclusivity (gender, race, ability, etc.) in their toys and/or the toy marketing they encounter
  • Children’s parasocial relationships with media characters and the desire for toys based on those characters
  • Children’s perspectives on the toy industry and what makes “good” toys
  • Discussion/analysis of grassroots efforts to change the marketing and/or content of children’s toys (e.g., Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood, Let Toys Be Toys, No Gender December)
  • Independent brand toys launched as a response to the types of toys on the market (e.g., Emmy, Lottie, Wonder Crew, GoldieBlox) – role of indiegogo and other crowdfunding platforms
  • The minimalist toy movement
  • Toy fandom / community user groups / toy collectors
  • Culture of parenthood and toys / parenting roles and play

CfP – Journal of Children and Media

The Journal of Children and Media is an international interdisciplinary and multi-method peer-reviewed publication that provides a space for discussion by scholars and professionals from around the world and across theoretical and empirical traditions who are engaged in the study of media in the lives of children and adolescents.  It is a unique intellectual forum for the exchange of information about all forms and contents of media in regards to all aspects of children’s lives, and especially in three complementary realms: Children as consumers of media, representations of children in the media, and media organizations and productions for children as well as by them.

It is committed to the facilitation of international dialogue among researchers and professionals, through discussion of interaction between children and media in local, national, and global contexts; concern for diversity issues; a critical and empirical inquiry informed by a variety of theoretical and empirical approaches; and dedication to ensuring the social relevance of the academic knowledge it produces to the cultural, political, and personal welfare of children around the world.

Dafna Lemish and Amy Jordan, the co-editors of the JOCAM, and Vicky Rideout, the Review & Commentary section editor, invite you to visit the journal’s website for more information about the journal and submission instructions. Taylor & Francis, the publisher of JOCAM has been a strong supporter of CAM from its inception, sponsoring receptions and offering discounted subscriptions.

Submission Deadline: Permanent Call


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