Precious, pure, uncivilised, vulnerable: infant embodiment in Australian popular media

Deborah Lupton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)


This article describes how infants' bodies were portrayed in a range of Australian popular media texts. Four main discourses on infant embodiment were identified: the infant as ‘precious’, ‘pure’, ‘uncivilised’ and ‘vulnerable’. While, on the one hand, infants were positioned as the most valuable and affectively appealing of humans, they were alternatively represented as uncivilised. Infant bodies were portrayed as appropriately inhabiting the domestic sphere of the home and as barely tolerated or even as excluded in the public sphere. The discussion looks at how concepts of ‘nature’, civility and Self and Otherness underpinned the identified discourses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)341-351
Number of pages11
JournalChildren & Society
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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