Child Caring Moralities and Market Organisation

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


In this chapter, I examine the implications of being a commercial practitioner in a field where moralities feature strongly, precisely because the teleoaffective structuration of child caring, in which commercial agents play a very active role, leads to the ‘fixing’ of distinct understandings of the young child that in turn circumscribe the possibilities for economic action. I present an analysis of how the practices of commercial organisations are infused with the moral concerns of child caring. I commence with a discussion of an episode of moral disruption, which started with the transformation of the chemical compound Bisphenol A into a health hazard in 2008, and which created commotion in the business of infant feeding tools. In my analysis, I work through this ‘episode’ in a temporal way, attending to the issues that characterised the start of this new ‘scare’, the ways in which companies responded, and how moral stability returned in the aftermath. I then move on to discuss two other ways in which morality is evident in commercial practices. The first considers the interactions between commercial practitioners at consumer exhibitions, and reflects on how moral worth manifests itself through gossip. This is followed by a brief discussion of product standards, which evidences formal modes of governance of commercial practices and responsibility. In the final section of this chapter, I argue that the organisational features of commercial communicative practices; the techno-medical-science density, the pedagogical content, and the management of ‘the face’ in exchange interactions, may be read as institutionalised responses to the discourse of childhood.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Keele UniversityNewcastleUK

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