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The use of the death trope in peer culture play: grounds for rethinking children and childhood?

Rosen, R; (2015) The use of the death trope in peer culture play: grounds for rethinking children and childhood? International Journal of Play , 4 (2) pp. 163-174. 10.1080/21594937.2015.1060568. Green open access

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Abstract

Dying and death in children's imaginative play is often subjected to literal interpretation, seen as evidence of meaning-making about death or a form of catharsis. Viewed in this light, children's enactment of uncaused and reversible deaths in ludic activity is considered evidence of developmental ‘immaturity’. Such interpretations, however, fundamentally misplace the contestive and transformative aspects of play [Henricks, T. S. (2006). Play reconsidered: Sociological perspectives on human expression. Urbana: University of Illinois Press]. In contrast, this article argues for the importance of figurative interpretations of children's play. Drawing on data generated in an ethnographic study at an early years setting in West London, it will be suggested that the death trope served as a generative metaphor in the peer culture, its everyday world characteristics provoking relatively stable responses in the face of uncertainties and ambiguities encountered in ludic activity. The use of the death trope made intimate, caring touch between children permissible, rather than just a by-product of small play spaces filled with many bodies.

Type: Article
Title: The use of the death trope in peer culture play: grounds for rethinking children and childhood?
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/21594937.2015.1060568
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/21594937.2015.1060568
Language: English
Additional information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in International Journal of Play on 09/10/15, available online: http://wwww.tandfonline.com/10.1080/21594937.2015.1060568.
Keywords: imaginative play, death, peer culture, touch, childhood, generative metaphor
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Social Research Institute
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1473458
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