Refereed journal article or data article (A1)

"Best friends forever – really? The group of friends as the ideal model of sociability in children’s animations"

List of AuthorsSaarenmaa Laura

Publication year2023

JournalEuropean Journal of Cultural Studies



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This article explores the intensifying friendship ideal current in children’s media culture. The article argues that children’s animations, such as Lego Friends, educate children about a desirable model of sociability, namely that of the closed group of friends. While the recent research on friendship has focused on the technological mechanisms of friendship in specific textual practices and platforms, the concept of friendship itself and its cultural re-significances has received less attention. In this analysis, Lego Friends is approached from the perspective of popular cultural meaning making: how and in relation to what are friendships represented as not only valuable but also necessary social relationships. Drawing on Stuart Hall’s theory of articulation, the article suggests that the intensifying friendship ideal reflects the contemporary adult concern of social exclusion, rooted in neoliberal economic insecurities.


Children’s animation, friendship, Lego Friends, multiplatform television, neoliberalism, post-feminism

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Last updated on 2024-23-02 at 12:02