Teddy Bear Stories

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Social Semiotics, 2003, 13 (1), pp. 5 - 27
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This paper presents a semiotic analysis of a key cultural artefact, the teddy bear. After introducing the iconography of the teddy bear, it analyses different kinds of stories to show how teddy bears are endowed with meaning in everyday life: stories from children's books, reminiscences by adults about their childhood teddy bears, and children's accounts of what they do with their teddy bears, both written for school and told 'out of school'. The paper sees teddy bears as artefacts that provide a cultural channelling for the child's need of a transitional object, and argues that the meanings of teddy bears have traditionally centred on interpersonal relations within the nuclear family, but have recently been institutionalised and commercialised. © 2003 Taylor & Francis Ltd.
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