Socio-cultural Positioning of Age Identities in Picturebooks


This study explores literal and metaphorical narrations of age by looking closely at two picturebooks published at the turn of the twenty-first century. The evolutionary Western understanding of the child, childhood and children’s literature is briefly periodized as a tension between pragmatic and philosophical concerns. Representations of age are taken to be embedded in socio-cultural positions that implicate historical periods, geographic locations, and economic structures. Ethnicity and gender are similarly discussed as immanent features. Age is presented as much a biological phenomenon as a performative social act of a given culture. The ideas, feelings and events depicted in each picturebook are approached from a structuralist and a postmodernist perspective with the aim of providing a complementary analysis of child representations in alignment with the adult presence, and not necessarily through the lens of aetonomativity. My analysis points to possible applications of the design of age narrations to current and future literacies.

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