The representation of older characters: no child’s play?


Linde Bossuyt (CIMS)


Sofie Van Bauwel (CIMS)


Stijn Joye (CIMS & CJS)


Ageism is a very broad phenomenon that encompasses the stereotypes, prejudices and discrimination based on age. It can manifest itself in diverse ways and it pertains to all ages. This makes ageism unique, as it is one of the few forms of discrimination we all might experience someday. The focus of this research project will be on the representation of older characters in children’s content, more specifically the content available in the region of Flanders. Television provides children with symbolic imagery of how older people look and behave and co-constructs cultural meaning around age and ageing in general. This research combines the topics of representation of age, children content, and the Flemish context, which on their own still have a lot of potential to grow, let alone when combining these three domains.

The research question of “how are older characters being represented in children television content broadcasted in Flanders” will be answered through an explorative quantitative content analysis, an in-depth qualitative textual analysis and a reception study with both older persons and children themselves. A focus will be put on how, and if, older characters are represented with regard to different (intersecting) identities, as well as the presence of recurring tropes.