Teddy Bear Stories

Theo van Leeuwen, Carmen Caldas-Coulthardt

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


This paper presents a semiotic analysis of a key cultural artefact, the teddy bear. After introducing the iconography of the teddy bear, it analyses different kinds of stories to show how teddy bears are endowed with meaning in everyday life: stories from children's books, reminiscenses by adults about their childhood teddy bears, and children's accounts of what they do with teddy bears, both written for school and told 'out of school', The chapter sees teddy bears as artefacts that provide a cultural channeling for the child's need of a transitional object and argues that the meanings of teddy bears have traditionally centred on interpersonal relations within the nuclear family, but have recently been institutionalized and commercialized.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCritical Discourse Analysis : Concepts, History, Theory
EditorsRuth Wodak
Number of pages25
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherSAGE Publications
Publication date2014
ISBN (Print)978-1-4462-1058-1
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • teddy bears, critical discourse analysis, children's stories, nuclear family


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