Academic journal article American Journal of Play

The Playdate: Parents, Children, and the New Expectations of Play

Academic journal article American Journal of Play

The Playdate: Parents, Children, and the New Expectations of Play

Article excerpt

The Playdate: Parents, Children, and the New Expectations of Play Tamara R. Mose New York, NY: New York University Press, 2016. Preface, acknowledgments, introduction, notes, and index. 192 pp. $26.00 paper. ISBN: 9780479866298

"We should schedule a playdate!" In the world of modern parenting, these words have become more and more common. So common in fact that businesses have evolved to create business cards for children and families to make scheduling playdates even easier.

In The Playdate, sociologist Tamara Mose explores the structure of this relatively recent social invention. Mose defines the playdate as: "an arranged meeting, organized and supervised by parents or care givers, between two or more children in order to play together at a specific time and place, for the most part at an indoor location" (p. 3). Across five chapters (and an introduction and conclusion), she details who structures playdates, why they have developed as they have, and why they have become so ubiquitous that even birthday parties are now "hyperplaydates."

To study playdates, Mose conducted forty-one semistructured interviews. All but two of the adults had children themselves, and thirty-four of them were women; thirteen identified as people of color. The Playdate contains many explanations, which Mose deftly interweaves in the content of the chapters. For example, she says that "interviewees almost always had the same answers, that a playdate was something created out of fear for children's safety and also the desire to meet people" (p. 36).

The Playdate is strong when Mose discusses play theory, especially in chapter 1, "From Play to Playdate: Moral Panic and Play Redefined." Here she explains that playdates involve very little independence on the part of children-partly because they are arranged and organized-often separating the children's interactions from that of real play. …

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