Remediating Tinker Bell: Exploring Childhood and Commodification through a Century-Long Transmedia Narrative

  • Eric M. Meyers
  • Julia P. McKnight
  • Lindsay M. Krabbenhoft
Keywords: Tinker Bell, transmedia, storytelling, play, narrative, virtual worlds, children, close reading

Abstract

The one-hundred-year trajectory of the mischievous Tinker Bell, from J. M. Barrie’s 1904 play Peter Pan, or the Boy Who Would Not Grow Up to the present-day Disney Fairies franchise, is a metanarrative of adaptation and remediation through which media and “childhood” can be seen to interrelate as mutually constitutive forces. With a focus on contemporary children’s narratives and media, this paper examines incarnations of this media franchise at fifty-year intervals. Our close reading yields insights into the reflexive relationship between the social constructions of childhood, the evolution of narrative in children’s literature, and the development of media for child audiences since the Edwardian era. Using Tinker Bell as an exemplar for a phenomenon, we find that as children’s narratives and media evolve in ways that increase the potential for childhood agency, commercial formulations shape this agency strategically by structuring access and participation.

Author Biographies

Eric M. Meyers

Eric M. Meyers is an Assistant Professor at the School of Library, Archival, and Information Studies at the University of British Columbia. He teaches and conducts research on the digital media practices of young people in academic and everyday contexts. His research in children’s virtual play worlds explores how human values such as privacy, autonomy, agency, and sustainability are reflected and instantiated in immersive technologies and their related textual ecosystems. His work is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the UBC Hampton Fund, and the UBC Dean of Arts Innovation Fund.

Julia P. McKnight

Julia P. McKnight is an auxiliary Children’s Librarian at the Vancouver Public Library and the West Vancouver Memorial Library, where she works in Youth Services. She provides storytime, readers’ advisory, and app advisory to young people and the people who care for them. She is passionate about fostering a love of reading in young people, supporting their interests in learning through play, facilitating access to twenty-first-century learning tools, and empowering young people to become media savvy. She holds an M.L.I.S. from the University of British Columbia and a B.A. in History from Simon Fraser University.

Lindsay M. Krabbenhoft

Lindsey M. Krabbenhoft is an auxiliary Children’s Librarian at the Vancouver Public Library. She holds an M.L.I.S. from the University of British Columbia and a Master’s of Education from the University of California, Davis. She was awarded the UBC Stanley and Rose Arkley Memorial Prize for her scholarship on children’s literature in 2013. She also runs a storytime YouTube channel and website called Jbrary that is dedicated to sharing early literacy resources with other youth service professionals.

Published
2014-07-10
How to Cite
Meyers, E., McKnight, J., & Krabbenhoft, L. (2014). Remediating Tinker Bell: Exploring Childhood and Commodification through a Century-Long Transmedia Narrative. Jeunesse: Young People, Texts, Cultures, 6(1). Retrieved from http://jeunessejournal.ca/index.php/yptc/article/view/232
Section
Articles for Special Issue on Consumption