Pricing Priceless Child

Pricing Priceless Child

by Viviana A. Zelizer


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In this landmark book, sociologist Viviana Zelizer traces the emergence of the modern child, at once economically "useless" and emotionally "priceless," from the late 1800s to the 1930s. Having established laws removing many children from the marketplace, turn-of-the-century America was discovering new, sentimental criteria to determine a child's monetary worth. The heightened emotional status of children resulted, for example, in the legal justification of children's life insurance policies and in large damages awarded by courts to their parents in the event of death. A vivid account of changing attitudes toward children, this book dramatically illustrates the limits of economic views of life that ignore the pervasive role of social, cultural, emotional, and moral factors in our marketplace world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780465063253
Publisher: Basic Books
Publication date: 05/28/1985
Pages: 288

Table of Contents

Preface (1994)
1From Mobs to Memorials: The Sacralization of Child Life22
2From Useful to Useless: Moral Conflict Over Child Labor56
3From Child Labor to Child Work: Redefining the Economic World of Children73
4From a Proper Burial to a Proper Education: The Case of Children's Insurance113
5From Wrongful Death to Wrongful Birth: The Changing Legal Evaluation of Children138
6From Baby Farms to Black-Market Babies: The Changing Market for Children169
7From Useful to Useless and Back to Useful? Emerging Patterns in the Valuation of Children208

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