Marketised Pedagogy and the Moralities of Child Caring

Part of the Studies in Childhood and Youth book series (SCY)


Chapters 5, 6 and 7 focussed on the teleoaffective structuration of child caring through practices of knowing the young child in distinct ways. This chapter turns to the moralities of child caring that connect the teleoaffective structure and the rules and principles of this practice, for whilst the teleoaffectivities of child caring point to why child caring is important, the principles and instructions map out how child caring ought to be done. As argued in Chapter 3, carrying a practice is always a moral and politically infused performance. This chapter moves through two interconnected arguments. I start by discussing a phenomenon I call the marketisation of child caring pedagogy, by drawing out a set of features of the ways in which information and instruction are evident in the business of child caring. Two of these features: pedagogic merging and the production of brand-company websites as a one-stop-shop are further explored. My concern is to develop an understanding of the marketisation of pedagogy so as to make the implications of this phenomenon clearer. Following the argument in Chapter 3 that practices may be carried by different entities, I therefore focus primarily on the question what the process of pedagogic marketisation conveys about the position and positioning of commercial interests in the field of child caring. I then move onto the second part of the chapter, where, based on the semi-structured interviews with new and prospective parents, I present a three-fold typology of parental moral-selving (Barnett et al. 2005: 30). I conclude by thinking through how effective the marketisation of pedagogy is in governing new parent consumers in accordance with the principles of neo-liberalism.


  1. Aarsand, L. 2014. The knowledgeable parenting style: Stance takings and subject positions in media encounters. International Journal of Lifelong Education 33 (5): 625–640.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. AbiGhannam, N., and L. Atkinson. 2016. Good green mothers consuming their way through pregnancy: Roles of environmental identities and information seeking in coping with the transition. Consumption Markets & Culture 19 (5): 1–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Afflerback, S., S.K. Carter, A.K. Anthony, and L. Grauerholz. 2013. Infant feeding consumerism in the age of intensive mothering and risk society. Journal of Consumer Culture.
  4. Apple, R.D. 2006. Perfect motherhood: Science and childrearing in America. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Arnup, K. 1994. Education for motherhood: Advice for mothers in twentieth-century Canada. Toronto: Toronto University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Bailey, L. 1999. Refracted selves? A study of changes in self-identity in the transition to motherhood. Sociology 33 (2): 335–352.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Barnett, C., P. Cloke, N. Clarke, and A. Malpass. 2005. Consuming ethics: Articulating the subjects and spaces of ethical consumption. Antipode 37 (1): 23–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Buckingham, D., and M. Scanlon. 2005. Selling learning: Towards a political economy of edutainment media. Media, Culture & Society 27 (1): 41–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cairns, K., J. Johnston, and N. MacKendrick. 2013. Feeding the ‘organic child’: Mothering through ethical consumption. Journal of Consumer Culture 13 (2): 97–118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Casey, E. 2007. Gambling and everyday life: Working class mothers and domestic spaces of consumption. In Gender and consumption: Material culture and the commercialisation of everyday life, ed. E. Casey and L. Martens, 123–140. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  11. de Laat, K., and S. Baumann. 2014. Caring consumption as marketing schema: Representations of motherhood in an era of hyperconsumption. Journal of Gender Studies 25 (2): 183–199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Du Gay, P. 1996. Consumption and identity at work. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  13. Ehrenreich, B., and D. English. 1979. For her own good: 150 years of the experts’ advice to women. London: Pluto.Google Scholar
  14. Ellis, L. 2011. Towards a contemporary sociology of children and consumption. Durham theses, Durham University. Available at Durham E-Theses Online:
  15. Faircloth, C. 2013. Militant lactivism? Attachment parenting and intensive motherhood in the UK and France. London: Berghahn Books.Google Scholar
  16. 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
  17. Furedi, F. 2001. Paranoid parenting. Chicago: Chicago Review Press.Google Scholar
  18. Halkier, B. 2014. 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, 56–67. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  19. Hardyment, C. 1995. Perfect parents: Baby-care advice past and present. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Hardyment, C. 2007. Dream babies: Childcare advice from John Locke to Gina Ford. London: Frances Lincoln.Google Scholar
  21. Hays, S. 1996. The cultural contradictions of motherhood. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Kehily, M.J. 2014. For the love of small things: Consumerism and the making of maternal identities. Young Consumers 15 (3): 227–238.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Lawler, S. 2000. Mothering the self: Mothers, daughters, subjectivities. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  24. Lee, E. 2007. Health, morality, and infant feeding: British mothers’ experiences of formula milk use in the early weeks. Sociology of Health & Illness 29 (7): 1075–1090.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lee, E., J. Bristow, C. Faircloth, and J. Macvarish. 2014. Parenting culture studies. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Lupton, D. 2013. Infant embodiment and interembodiment: A review of sociocultural perspectives. Childhood 20 (1): 37–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Mackendrick, N. 2014. More work for mother: Chemical body burdens as a maternal responsibility. Gender & Society 28 (5): 705–728.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Marshall, D., M. Hogg, T. Davis, T. Schneider, and A. Petersen. 2013. Images of motherhood: Food advertising in Good Housekeeping magazine 1950–2010. In Motherhoods, markets and consumption: The making of mothers in contemporary Western cultures, ed. Stephanie O’Donohoe, Margaret Hogg, Pauline MacLaran, Lydia Martens, and Lorna Stevens. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  29. Martens, L., S. Scott, and E. Uprichard. 2005. ‘Safety, safety, safety for small fry’: Children and safety in commercial communities of parenthood. Unpublished paper presented at The Norwegian Institute for Consumer Research, June.Google Scholar
  30. Martens, L. 2009. Creating the ethical parent-consumer subject: Commerce, moralities and pedagogies in early parenthood. In Critical pedagogies of consumption: living and learning in the shadow of the “shopocalypse”, ed. J.A. Sandlin and P. McLaren. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  31. 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
  32. Martens, L., and E. Casey. 2007. Afterword: Theorising gender, consumer culture and promises of betterment in late modernity. In Gender and consumption: Material culture and the commercialisation of everyday life, ed. E. Casey and L. Martens, 219–242. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  33. Martens, L., and S. Scott. 2005. “The unbearable lightness of cleaning”: Representations of domestic practice and products in Good Housekeeping magazine (UK): 1951–2001. Consumption, Markets and Culture 8 (4): 379–401.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Martens, L., and S. Scott. 2006. Under the kitchen surface: Domestic products and conflicting constructions of home. Home Cultures 3 (1): 39–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Miller, D. 2001. The poverty of morality. Journal of Consumer Culture 1 (2): 225–243.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Miller, T. 2005. Making sense of motherhood. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Miller, P., and N. Rose. 1997. Mobilizing the consumer: Assembling the subject of consumption. Theory, Culture & Society 14 (1): 1–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Murphy, E. 2003. Expertise and forms of knowledge in the government of families. The Sociological Review 51 (4): 433–462.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Pugh, A.J. 2009. Longing and belonging: Parents, children, and consumer culture. California: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  40. Sayer, A. 2003. (De)commodification, consumer culture, and moral economy. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 21 (3): 341–357.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Song, F.W., and N. Paul. 2015. Online product research as a labor of love: Motherhood and the social construction of the baby registry. Information, Communication & Society 19 (7): 892–906.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Taylor, A. 2011. Reconceptualising the ‘nature’ of childhood. Childhood 18 (4): 420–433.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Thomson, R., M.J. Kehily, L. Hadfield, and S. Sharpe. 2011. Making modern mothers. Bristol: Policy Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Vincent, C., and C. Maxwell. (2015). Parenting priorities and pressures: Furthering understanding of ‘concerted cultivation’. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education 37 (2): 269–281.Google Scholar
  45. Warde, A. 1997. Consumption, food and taste. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  46. Wilk, R. 2001. Consuming morality. Journal of Consumer Culture 1 (2): 245–260.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. 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