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Market intimacy: The baby box and becoming parents
Stockholms universitet, Barn- och ungdomsvetenskapliga institutionen.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6419-5850
Linköping University, Department of Thematic Studies, Department of Child Studies. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6901-4417
2018 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Corporations approach parents, globally, for example through direct marketing. This paper highlights a specific marketing practice – called the baby box offering becoming parents “freebies” for their children, including diapers, pacifiers, toys, and detergents. In Sweden, baby boxes are distributed by companies such as the diaper brand Libero and by pharmacies. Parents-to-be announce their interest and receive products that are handy when caring for a new-born. The box is a starting point in a relation to companies in the child care business, meant to stimulate consumption. Having accepted a baby box, various companies follow up with advertising. The composition of the baby boxes says something about how companies in the childcare business imagine what parents and new borns need and want. Thereby, boxes expose ideas about what parents and infants are. As baby boxes are distributed to expecting parents, before or early in their parenthood, they have the potential to orientate them and generate a sense of meaning in relation to their child(ren). This paper approaches the constitution of parenthood and children, scrutinizing the meanings of the baby box, as materialized educational policies. The paper thus aims to provide insights regarding marketing practices and notions of children and parenthood in consumer culture. Developing the notion of market intimacy, we argue that corporations associate infants with specific products and brands, which are made relevant in the unfolding of future temporalities. Taken together, we suggest that the baby boxes create a platform for corporations to become a part of the co-constitution of parenthood, family, and childhood. Our arguments are based on an analysis of: boxes and their contents, distribution (including ethnographic encounters in stores), and “unboxing” events, presented on YouTube.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018.
Keywords [en]
children, parents, childhood, parenthood, markets, gifts, baby box, consumption
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Research subject
Child and Youth Science; Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-161114OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-161114DiVA, id: diva2:1365006
Conference
Sociocultural Dimensions of Childhood, Sofia, Bulgaria, October 26-28, 2018
Available from: 2018-11-07 Created: 2019-10-23Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • oxford
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf