This article explores political ambiguities surrounding the mutual implication between technology and subjectivity, through the analysis of recent cultural texts about childhood. These ambiguities are shown to rely upon the mobilisation of memory and assume specific gendered forms. The appeal to the past figured by the child is also shown to install a normative developmental trajectory alongside the motif of technology signalling a marked 'break' with the past. Whether conceived as technologically savvy or as post-natural romantic, it seems that the (male) child persists as a key counterpart to the - currently economically displaced and emotionally de-skilled - adult male. The argument is elaborated through analysis of popular cultural texts which - crossing genres, contexts and a five-year period - form an arena through which the themes of expertise, technology and gendered idea-typical modes of childhood can be explored. Juxtaposition between the three UK texts and an Indian text suggests that memorial identifications (facilitated by gendered continuities within a particularly conservative rendering of identification), may offer possibilities of a redemptive position, as well as new sites of regulation (and market exploitation). This, however, like the UK varieties, is at the cost of limiting utopian subjective possibilities to traditional narratives of development and gender (hetero)normativity. © 2012 Pedagogy, Culture & Society.