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Family theme parks, happiness and children’s consumption: From roller-coasters to Pippi Longstocking
Linköping University, The Tema Institute, Department of Child Studies. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6419-5850
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Familjeparker, lycka och barns konsumtion : Från berg-och-dalbanor till Pippi Långstrump (Swedish)
Abstract [en]

This book provides an ethnographic contribution to research on children’s consumption, family life and happiness. Various and shifting notions of happiness are explored, as well as conditions for and challenges to happiness, through an analysis of video-recorded interviews and mobile ethnography conducted in two of the most popular theme parks in Sweden. Initially, the study outlines how previous research has conceptualized happiness in association with time and place in a rather static way. Based on a treatise of notions of happiness in philosophy and the social sciences, there is a turn in this thesis towards practice. It generates fundamental knowledge about the complexity of happiness. By employing this approach, it is possible to highlight how happiness is enacted as part of and in relation to ideals of family life, time, childhood, money, consumption, experiences and material things. As we explore the practices of children and their families, we discover that shifting meanings of happiness are located in contemporary culture, where emotions and consumption are of central importance.

The approach is interdisciplinary, and draws on theoretical and methodological contributions in sociology, anthropology and Science and Technology Studies (STS). Notions of meshwork and enactment become important for the exploration of happiness as a complex and changing matter, which productively involves social relations and material things. Throughout the thesis there is a dialogue with previous research on happiness, consumption and childhood which highlights the importance of exploring messy practices, in movement. It is argued that explorations of practice contribute to a critical understanding of how happiness and contemporary ideals of childhood can be approached – through consumption and as part of citizenship in a consumer society where happiness is of central importance.

Abstract [sv]

Denna avhandling utgör ett etnografiskt bidrag till forskning om barns konsumtion, familjeliv och lycka. Genom en analys av videoinspelade intervjuer samt familjebesök till två av Sveriges mest välbesökta temaparker utforskas skiftande betydelser av lycka, liksom dess förutsättningar och utmaningar. Tidigare temaparks-forskning har generellt tagit lyckans existens för given. Utifrån en inledande diskussion om bland annat olika filosofiska och samhällsvetenskapliga lyckoteorier argumenterar avhandlingen för att studier av praktik tillför ny och grundläggande kunskap om lyckans komplexa sammansättningar. Avhandlingen visar därigenom att lycka iscensätts som en del av – och i förhållande till – ideal om familjeliv, tid, barndom, pengar, konsumtion, upplevelser och materiella ting. Genom att fokusera på barn och deras familjers praktiker lokaliseras lyckans skiftande betydelser i en samtidskultur där emotioner och konsumtion är centrala.

Avhandlingens ansats är tvärvetenskaplig och hämtar teoretisk och metodologisk inspiration från sociologi, antropologi samt teknik- och vetenskapsstudier (STS). Genom denna ansats synliggörs sammanflätningar av sociala relationer och materiella ting som produktiva i iscensättandet av lycka. Genom en dialog mellan empiriska beskrivningar och forskning om lycka, konsumtion och barndom belyser avhandlingen nödvändigheten av att synliggöra och utforska röriga och rörliga praktiker. Det bidrar till en kritisk förståelse av praktik som kan förändra hur vi närmar oss lycka och samtida barndomsideal – som konsumenter och medborgare i ett lyckosträvande konsumtionssamhälle.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2015. , 239 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Arts and Science, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 654
Keyword [en]
Happy, emotions, childhood, time, money, value, amusement park, leisure, tourism, mesh, ethnography
Keyword [sv]
Nöjespark, temapark, glädje, nöje, känslor, etnografi, fritid, turism, värde, konsumtion, barn, barndom, familj
National Category
Cultural Studies Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-121549DOI: 10.3384/diss.diva-121549ISBN: 978-91-7685-979-7 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-121549DiVA: diva2:856417
Public defence
2015-10-23, TEMCAS, Tema Building, Campus Valla, Linköping, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2015-09-24 Created: 2015-09-24 Last updated: 2015-09-28Bibliographically approved

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