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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Six Degrees of Segregation: From Picture Books to Oppressive Practices
by Heath, Demetria, M.H., University of Colorado at Denver, 2018, 88; 10845142
Abstract (Summary)

Children’s picture books engage young readers with lessons of both literacy and socialization. They are discursive components of visual culture, with ideological origins that can be traced to European colonizers, whose policies fueled popular sentiment that devalued those who appeared different and, thus, encouraged systemic oppression and genocide. Utilizing Hall’s definition of representations will provide perspective in discussions of social constructs (including constructed absences), developmental psychology, and research-evidenced processes of child perception and meaning. These phenomena often convey unearned hierarchical power that culminates in behaviors that include social exclusion and discrimination, and their far-reaching effects are discussed by MacDonald as European Structuralism, in which “social and cultural life are governed by deep-seated structural polarities” (1995, p. 35). European Structuralism, and related systems, disadvantaged groups that include females, non-European males, non-heterosexuals, those with a high body mass index (BMI), and non-Christians. Visual culture, including picture books, perpetuates these constructs that lead to oppression. To call attention to the origins of biased messages, I analyze the physical characteristics of best-selling picture book authors and illustrators. Few surprises exist, yet these data add another layer to the intricate systems of power dynamics.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Swartz, Omar
Commitee: Duran-Aydintug, Candan, Everhart, Kevin
School: University of Colorado at Denver
Department: Humanities
School Location: United States -- Colorado
Source: MAI 58/02M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Social research, Developmental psychology, Psychology
Keywords: Behavioral psycology, Early childhood education, Epistemology, European structuralism, Picture books, Social structure
Publication Number: 10845142
ISBN: 978-0-438-44892-6
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