Child Caring and Market Interactions

  • Lydia MartensEmail author
Part of the Studies in Childhood and Youth book series (SCY)


This chapter explains the approach to practices that was formulated to guide the analysis presented in this book. One of the arguments I develop is that it is in and through specific performances of the practice of child caring, in interactions in market space, that the value of the young child and pecuniary value are co-realized. I therefore turn to theories of practice and draw specifically on Theodor Schatzki’s argument that practices are social entities that are organised through a teleoaffective structure, principles and instructions, and understandings. The central practice I am concerned with is that of child caring. I start by identifying the peculiarities of carrying this practice. Challenging everyday understandings of child caring as an entity, I argue that a range of entities can carry this practice, and perform it in ways that are different from the kinds of performances to which common understandings of child caring point. Next, I attend to the teleoaffective qualities of child caring, and advance the argument that these qualities are structured through knowledge practices that understand the young child in ways that give the practice of child caring its reason d’etre. As child caring can be carried by different entities, teleoaffective structuration needs to be acknowledged as a political process. The teleoaffective structuration of child caring happens in and through the repeated performances of different actants, and I have therefore also drawn on science and technology studies and feminist theory to argue that the analysis should be guided by a horizontal methodology. The chapter closes with a discussion of the ethnographic and textual research that was conducted.


  1. Arvidsson, A. 2005. Brands: A critical perspective. Journal of Consumer Culture 5 (2): 235–258.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Apple, R.D. 1987. Mothers and medicine: A social history of infant feeding, 1890–1950. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.Google Scholar
  3. Apple, R.D. 1995. Constructing mothers: Scientific motherhood in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Social History of Medicine 8 (2): 161–178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Apple, R.D. 2006. Perfect motherhood: Science and childrearing in America. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Bloch, M. 1991. Language, anthropology and cognitive science. Man (New Series) 26 (2): 183–198.Google Scholar
  6. Burningham, K., S. Venn, I. Christie, T. Jackson, and B. Gatersleben. 2014. New motherhood: A moment of change in everyday shopping practices? Young Consumers 15 (3): 211–226.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cook, D.T. 2004. The commodification of childhood: The children’s clothing industry and the rise of the child consumer. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cook, D.T. (ed.). 2008. Lived experiences of public consumption: Encounters with value in marketplaces on five continents. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  9. Edwards, O.W., and V.E. Mumford. 2005. Children raised by grandparents: Implications for social policy. International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy 25 (8): 18–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Ellis, C., and A.P. Bochner. 2000. Autoethnography, personal narrative, reflexivity: Researcher as subject. In The handbook of qualitative research, 2nd ed, ed. N. Denzin and Y. Lincoln, 763–788. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  11. Everts, J. 2010. Consuming and living the corner shop: Belonging, remembering, socialising. Social and Cultural Geography 11 (8): 847–863.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Everts, J., and P. Jackson. 2009. Modernisation and the practices of contemporary food shopping. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 27 (5): 917–935.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Falk, P., and C. Campbell (eds.). 1997. The shopping experience. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  14. Ferguson, H. 2008. Protecting children in time: Child abuse, child protection and the consequences of modernity. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  15. Fuentes, M., and H. Brembeck. 2017. Best for baby? Framing weaning practice and motherhood in web-mediated marketing. Consumption Markets & Culture 20 (2): 153–175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Goffman, E. 1961/2013. Encounters: Two studies in the sociology of interaction. Eastford, CT: Martino Fine Books.Google Scholar
  17. Gram-Hanssen, Kirsten. 2011. Understanding change and continuity in residential energy consumption. Journal of Consumer Culture 11 (1): 61–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Gregson, N., and L. Crewe. 1997. The bargain, the knowledge, and the spectacle: Making sense of consumption in the space of the car-boot sale. Environment and Planning D 15: 87–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Gronow, J., and A. Warde (eds.). 2001. Ordinary consumption. Routledge: London.Google Scholar
  20. Halkier, B. 2001. Consuming ambivalences. Consumer handling og environmentally related risks in food. Journal of Consumer Culture 1: 205–224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Halkier, B. 2010. Consumption challenged: Food in mediated everyday lives. Farnham: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  22. Halkier, B. 2013. Contesting food—Contesting motherhood? In Motherhoods, markets and consumption: The making of mothers in contemporary western cultures, ed. S. O’Donohoe, M. Hogg, P. Maclaran, L. Martens, and L. Stevens, 87–102. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  23. Halkier, B., T. Katz-Gero, and L. Martens. 2011. Special Issue on “Applications of practice theory in consumption research”. Journal of Consumer Culture 11 (1): 3–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hays, S. 1996. The cultural contradictions of motherhood. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Humphery, K. 1998. Shelf life: Supermarkets and the changing cultures of consumption. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Ilmonen, K. 2001. Sociology, consumption and routine. In Ordinary Consumption, ed. J. Gronow and A. Warde, 9–23. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  27. Ingold, T. 2000. The perception of the environment: Essays on livelihood, dwelling and skill. London/New York: Routledge. Google Scholar
  28. Jackson, P., M. Rowlands, and D. Miller. 2005. Shopping, place and identity. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  29. Jenks, C. 2005. Childhood. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  30. Keller, M., and B. Halkier. 2014. Positioning consumption: A practice theoretical approach to contested consumption and media discourse. Marketing Theory 14 (1): 35–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Knoblauch, Hubert. 2005. Focused Ethnography [30 paragraphs]. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung [Forum: Qualitative Social Research] 6 (3): Art. 44.
  32. Knorr Cetina, K. 1997. Sociality with objects: Social relations in postsocial knowledge societies. Theory, Culture & Society 14 (4): 1–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Knorr Cetina, K., and U. Bruegger. 2002. Traders’ engagement with markets: A postsocial relationship. Theory, Culture & Society 19 (5–6): 161–185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Kopytoff, I. 1986. The cultural biography of things: Commoditisation as process. In The social life of things: Commodities in cultural perspective, ed. A. Appadurai. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  35. Law, J. 2004. After method. Mess in social science research. London/New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  36. Lawler, S. 2000. Mothering the self: Mothers, daughters, subjectivities. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  37. Lee, N. 2005. Childhood and human value: Development, separation and separability. Maidenhead: The Open University Press.Google Scholar
  38. Magaudda, P. 2011. When materiality ‘bites back’: Digital music consumption practices in the age of dematerialization. Journal of Consumer Culture 11 (1): 15–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Martens, L. 2010. The cute, the spectacle and the practical: Narratives of new parents and babies at the baby show. In Childhood and consumer culture, ed. D. Buckingham and V. Tingstad. London: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  40. Martens, L. 2012. Practice ‘In Talk’ and Talk ‘As Practice’: Dish washing and the reach of language. Sociological Research Online 17 (3): 22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Martens, L., and S. Scott. 2017. Understanding everyday kitchen life: Looking at performance, into performances and for practices. In Methodological reflections on practice oriented theories, ed. M. Jonas, B. Littig, and A. Wroblewski, 177–191. Charn, Switzerland: Springer. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Miller, D. 1998. A theory of shopping. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  43. Miller, T. 2005. Making sense of motherhood. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Molander, S. 2011. Food, love and meta-practices: A study of everyday dinner consumption among single mothers. Research in Consumer Behavior 13: 77–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Nava, Mica. 2000. Modernity tamed? Women shoppers and the rationalisation of consumption in the interwar period. In All the world and her husband: women in twentieth-century consumer culture, ed. M. Andrews and M.M. Talbot. London: Cassell.Google Scholar
  46. Nimmo, R. 2011. Actor-network theory and methodology: Social research in a more-than-human world. Methodological Innovations Online 6 (3): 108–119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Pink, S. 2012. Situating everyday life: Practices and places. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  48. Pink, S., and J. Morgan. 2013. Short-term ethnography: Intense routes to knowing. Symbolic Interaction 36 (3): 351–361.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Pink, S., K.L. Mackley, R. Morosanu, V. Mitchell, and T. Bhamra. 2017. Making homes: Ethnography and design. London: Bloomsbury.Google Scholar
  50. Prout, A. 2005. The future of childhood. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  51. Postill, J. 2010. Introduction: Theorising media and practices. In Theorising media and practice, ed. B. Brauchler and J. Postill, 1–32. New York: Berghahn Books.Google Scholar
  52. Pugh, A.J. 2009. Longing and belonging: Parents, children, and consumer culture. California: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  53. Pyyhtinen, A. 2016. More-than-human sociology. London: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  54. Røpke, I. 2009. Theories of practice—New inspiration for ecological economic studies on consumption. Ecological Economics 68: 2490–2497.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Sayer, A. 2000. Markets, embeddedness and trust: Problems of polysemy and idealism. Published by the Department of Sociology, Lancaster University, UK, at
  56. Sayer, A. 2003. (De)Commodification, consumer culture, and moral economy. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 21: 341–357.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Sayer, A. 2004. Approaching moral economy. In The moralization of the markets, ed. N. Stehr, C. Henning, and B. Weiler. New Brunswick/London: Transaction Publishers. Google Scholar
  58. Schäfer, H. 2017. Relationality and heterogeneity: Transitive methodology in practice theory and actor-network theory. In Methodological reflections on practice oriented theories, ed. M. Jonas, B. Littig, and A. Wroblewski, 35–46. Charn, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Schatzki, T. 1996. Social practices: A Wittgensteinian approach to human activity and the social. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Google Scholar
  60. Schatzki, T. 2002. The site of the social. A philosophical account of the constitution of social life and change. Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State University Press.Google Scholar
  61. Schatzki, T., K. Knorr-Cetina, and E. von Savigny (eds.). 2001. The practice turn in contemporary theory. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  62. Shove, E., M. Watson, M. Hand, and J. Ingram. 2007. The design of everyday life. Oxford: Berg.Google Scholar
  63. Shove, E., M. Pantzar, and M. Watson. 2012. The dynamics of social practice: Everyday life and how it changes. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  64. Southerton, D. 2013. Habits, routines and temporalities of consumption: From individual behaviours to the reproduction of everyday practices. Time & Society 22 (3): 335–355.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Sparrman, A., and B. Sandin. 2012. Situated child consumption: Introduction. In Situating child consumption: Rethinking values and notions of children, childhood and consumption, ed. A. Sparrman, B. Sandin, and J. Sjöberg. Lund: Nordic Academic Press.Google Scholar
  66. Sullivan, O., and J. Gershuny. 2004. Inconspicuous consumption: Work-rich, time-poor in the liberal market economy. Journal of Consumer Culture 4 (1): 79–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Taylor, A. 2013. Reconfiguring the natures of childhood. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  68. Taylor, J.S., L. Layne, and D.F. Wozniak. 2004. Consuming motherhood. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.Google Scholar
  69. Thomson, R., M.J. Kehily, L. Hadfield, and S. Sharpe. 2011. Making modern mothers. Bristol: Policy Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Truninger, M. 2011. Cooking with bimby in a moment of recruitment: Exploring conventions and practice perspectives. Journal of Consumer Culture 11 (1): 37–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Vihalemm, T., M. Keller, and M. Kiisel. 2015. From intervention to social change: A guide to reshaping everyday practices. Farnham: Ashgate. Google Scholar
  72. vom Lehn, D. 2014. Timing is money: Managing the floor in sales interaction at street-market stalls. Journal of Marketing Management 30 (13–14): 1448–1466.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Warde, A. 1997. Consumption, food and taste. Thousand Oaks: Sage. Google Scholar
  74. Warde, A. 2005. Consumption and theories of practice. Journal of consumer culture 5 (2): 131–153.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Warde, Alan. 2014. After taste: Culture, consumption and theories of practice. Journal of Consumer Culture 14 (3): 279–303.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Warde, A. and Southerton, D. (eds.). 2012. The habits of consumption, vol 12. Helsinki: Helsinki Collegium in the Humanities and Social Sciences.Google Scholar
  77. Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary. 1979. Springfield: G & C Merriam Company.Google Scholar
  78. Williams, R.H. 1991. Dream worlds: Mass consumption in late nineteenth-century France. California: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  79. Woolgar, S. 2012. Ontological child consumption. In Situating child consumption: Rethinking values and notions of children, childhood and consumption, ed. A. Sparrman, B. Sandin, and J. Sjöberg, 33–52. Lund: Nordic Academic Press.Google Scholar
  80. Zelizer, V.A.R. 1985. Pricing the priceless child: The changing social value of children. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Keele UniversityNewcastleUK

Personalised recommendations