The Use Of The Death Trope In Peer Culture Play: Grounds For Rethinking Children And Childhood? - Rachel Rosen

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. In contrast, this article (authored by ENMCR member Dr. Rachel Rosen) 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.

In International Journal of Play, Volume 4, Issue 2 (2015) doi:10.1080/21594937.2015.1060568

Access the text here.


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