Date of Award

Summer 6-13-2011

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Sociology

First Advisor

Dr. Ralph LaRossa

Second Advisor

Dr. Phillip Davis

Third Advisor

Dr. Deirdre Oakley

Abstract

The lack of sociological research on adult/child stratification in children’s books and the impacts books make in the lives of children and adults, especially in regards to socialization, are important reasons to investigate this medium. Through a conflict and feminist perspective, as well as utilizing a cultural diamond framework, this research examines the representations of power disparities between adults and children, and the structures of childrearing within the cultural object of 64 bestselling children’s picture books from 1993 to 2008. I employed content analysis to evaluate appearances of gender, age, race, parental behaviors, and childrearing structures. My findings demonstrate that gender and age disparities prevail, non-white main characters remain invisible, males as main adult characters exhibit higher rates of parental behaviors, and concerted cultivation child rearing structure is present in illustrations. Future research should focus on other aspects of the cultural diamond to gain deeper knowledge of cultural meanings.

Included in

Sociology Commons

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