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Article
Early childhood care and education in a consumer society: Questioning the child–adult binary and childhood inequality
Global Studies of Childhood (2015)
  • Sirene Lim
Abstract
Like many globalised urban cities, Singapore is a consumer society – a social system shaped by the production and consumption of commodities. Through a cultural studies framework, this article utilises ethnographic data of children’s peer culture to raise questions about the child–adult binary and developmentalism that tends to govern educational thought and practice in Singapore. Drawing from the talk and action of a group of 4- and 5-year-olds and parent interviews, this article sheds light on how a group of preschoolers and their families actively wrestle with similar processes of ‘being’ and ‘becoming’ within a consumer society, albeit in their own terms. In creating a peer culture of shared experiences, the children exchange personal facts and knowledge of cultural symbols, inadvertently including and excluding certain peers in such dialogues. This investigation reveals children’s creative appropriation of their family’s consumer culture in the process of connecting with peers. I pursue an argument emphasising the need for adults to acknowledge and respect young children as interpreters of societal culture and as agents in their own learning; to rethink assumptions of young children as ‘innocent’, ‘vulnerable’ and ‘incompetent’, and adults as ‘knowledgeable’ and ‘in control’.
Disciplines
Publication Date
2015
Citation Information
Sirene Lim. "Early childhood care and education in a consumer society: Questioning the child–adult binary and childhood inequality" Global Studies of Childhood (2015)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/sirene_lim/37/