Toy as discourse: children's war toys and the war on terror

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Critical Discourse Studies, 2009, 6 (1), pp. 51 - 64
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War toys of different eras realize the dominant discourses of war of the time, and they do so in a way which allows children to enact these discourses and values in play. This paper examines war toys over the past 100 years before providing a detailed multimodal analysis of contemporary war toys distributed around the planet, mainly by global American corporations, which teach children about the importance of the quick decisive strike, the role of the team and the morality of technology. Through this they convey how conflicts are resolved in today's world, and why. Early on children are recruited not just into the war on terror but also the values of corporate capitalism. The paper ends by looking at some ethnographic data where children play with guns.
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