Series of Play, in and out of Context

Series of Play, in and out of Context

Series of Play, in and out of Context

Series of Play, in and out of Context

Synopsis

Volume 3 of Play & Culture Studies builds on the foundations established in the first two volumes of this series. Our purpose is to further discourse and understanding about the complex phenomenon we know as play. Play, as a human and animal activity, can be understood in terms of cultural, social, evolutionary, psychological, and philosophical perspectives.This effort necessarily includes inquiry from a range of disciplines, including history, sociology, psychology, education, biology, anthropology, and leisure studies. Work from a number of those disciplines is represented in this book.

Excerpt

Volume 3 of Play & Culture Studies builds on the foundations established in the first two volumes of this series (Duncan, Chick, & Aycock, 1998; Reifel, 1999). Our purpose is to further discourse and understanding about the complex phenomenon we know as play. Play, as a human and animal activity, can be understood in terms of cultural, social, evolutionary, psychological, and philosophical perspectives. This effort necessarily includes inquiry from a range of disciplines, including history, sociology, psychology, education, biology, anthropology, and leisure studies. Work from a number of those disciplines is represented in this book.

As has been the practice in previous volumes, we draw heavily on papers and participants who comprise the the Association for the Study of Play (TASP). a number of the chapters in Volume 3 began as presentations at the 1998 meeting of tasp in St. Petersburg, Florida. Other chapters were prepared independently of that meeting. Chapters were subjected to blind review to maintain quality. I am grateful to contributors for their conscientious and timely participation in this process.

The topics addressed in this book in some ways reflect themes long established in the field. One major difference with Volume 3 is that a much higher proportion of studies included deal with children’s play; this year, three-quarters of the chapters address aspects of children’s play. of course, children’s play has been a common, continuing theme in play inquiry for decades, but in past years there had been a much more extensive representation of scholarship from diverse disciplines. We can only hope that this state of affairs reflects a vital period in childhood play studies, and not a waning of interest in the topic by those in other fields.

I have organized the following chapters into five parts. Part I on “Foundations and Theory of Play” includes a number of conceptual analyses of play. Chapter 1 is Garry Chick’s tasp Presidential Address on “What Is Play For? Sexual Selection and the Evolution of Play,” reflecting a novel anthropological reconceptualization of the function of play. Other social and evolutionary critiques of play appear in Brian Sutton-Smith’s “Reframing the Variability of Players and Play” (Chapter 2), Thomas Henricks’s “Play and Postmodernism” (Chapter 3), Kjetil Steinsholt and Eli Traasdahl’s “The Concept of Play in Hans-Georg Gadamer’s Hermeneutics: An Educational Approach” (Chapter 4), and Warren P. Roberts’s “Symbolic Play and the Evolution of Culture: a Comparative Life History Perspec-

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