Minna Ruckenstein: Lapsuus ja talous [Childhood and the economy]

28 August 2014 | Mini reviews, Reviews

RuckensteinLapsuus ja talous
[Childhood and the economy]
Helsinki: Gaudeamus, 2013. 186 pp.
ISBN 978-952-495-294-1
€33, paperback

In her book the cultural anthropologist and researcher Minna Ruckenstein examines the Finnish and Western economy from an unusual angle, looking at it from the point of view ofchildren mainly under the age of 12. The preconceptions of educators about a deep divide between children and the market economy do not necessarily correspond to reality; the economic activities of children are diverse. They include, for example, reciprocity and exchange as a value creator that supports social relations. Children have a different relationship to money and its valorisation from that of adults. The difference between work and play is blurred, and children’s forms of paid work and their experience of it are also not as unambiguous as has been traditionally thought. During recent decades commercial children’s culture has become an increasingly obvious part of the child’s life; information technology has created new forms of participation, and children are not only targets of active marketing but also producers. This interesting book shows that childhood and the economy have closer and more nuanced links than is generally assumed.

Translated by David McDuff

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