Staging Age pp 109-127 | Cite as

Mediating Childhood: How Child Spectators Interpret Actors’ Bodies in Theatrical Media



While many adults endeavor to remain young against biological odds, the overarching work of childhood calls for reaching adulthood against the socializing (and highly politicized) forces of mediated culture. In strident debates and moral panics over mass media consumption, adults position themselves in relation to children in two basic ways. Protectionists believe that they should protect youngsters from adults’ secrets and keep them innocently pure for as long as possible by regulating or censoring their media diets via parental and governmental policies. Nurturers, on the other hand, believe children should negotiate these secrets openly in compassionate conversations that nurture their rights and responsibilities as democratic citizens. Between these two camps lie children themselves, who make and control many of their own decisions about media preferences no matter what adults think. While media content contains countless messages about human conditions, how actors communicate these dramatized messages matters greatly as age-identified bodies perform and mediate child-adult constructs on stage and screen.


Child Actor Moral Panic Mediate Culture Sesame Street Young Audience 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Valerie Barnes Lipscomb and Leni Marshall 2010

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