games * children * play

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Presentation for the SA Association of Women Graduates, May 2014. My PhD is available at

Text of games * children * play

  • 1. Dr Nicola Pallitt Presentation for the SA Association of Women Graduates Peace in our times? 24 May 2014 games * children * play

2. Play in less peaceful times 3. Generals, John Heywood, 1985 4. Brothers in Arms, John Heywood, 1985 5. Playing house for boys? 6. ? 7. Caribbean kids playing gangsters with toy guns in bocas del toro Panama, Kalle Sthlberg, 2013 8. Candy Cigarette, Sally Mann, 1989 9. Anna and Virginia, Sally Mann, 1991 10. Mimicry / imitation For children, the aim is to imitate adults. This explains the success of the toy weapons and miniatures which copy the tools, engines, arms, and machines used by adults. The little girl plays her mothers role as cook, laundress, and ironer. The boy makes believe he is a soldier, musketeer, policeman, pirate, cowboy, Martian, etc. (Caillois, [1961] 2001, p. 21) 11. Hidden transcript of play presses against and tests the limits of what may be safely ventured in terms of a reply to a public transcript of deference and conformity. (Scott, 1990, p. 157-158). 12. Importance of mimicry & parody in childrens play The Opies: role of parody and mimicry in childrens play changes in response to socio- historical developments Children reflect their immediate environments and often parody adult behaviour (Harrop-Allin 2010, p. 161) while also working out cross-gender interactions and sexual roles (2010, p. 109). 13. Ludic gendering 14. Violence & masculinity 15. The Sims 2 and sexuality The Sims 2 play episodes Girls played lesbian family Make out heterosexual romance Boys played dress up Police sexuality These clothes are so gay Boys dont wear skinny jeans Making fun of the bum 16. Where the girls are 17. TheVampireWedding Mark: Wait you hold L2, now you hold R2 and like make yourselves look like youre holding hands. Just do it. [Archie hits Taras sackgirl instead, the children laugh.] Just hold hands! I want to see what they look like. No, just do it move your hands down. Stop it Archie! [Archie makes his sack-groom run around in the background, he does not want to hold hands with his sack-bride. Joey hums the wedding march. Archie gives in and comes closer and they try to make their hands touch. Tara hits Archies sackboy and they all laugh.] Dont! I want to see what it looks like. Archie: I dont. Mark: Now go close, now do it. Joey: You may kiss the bride! Mark: Go a little further away. There we go. (But Archie runs away.) No, go in front of her, then shes not able to hit you. Kiss or hit the bride? Tara, Archie, Mark and Joey play Little Big Planet (Holiday club, 8 April 2011) 18. Are these play episodes peaceful?What can childrens gameplay tell us? 19. Conclusion Ludic gendering of particular games was appropriated into childrens play and peer relationships, while mediating their understandings of gender and sexuality heteronormativity and gender norms in childrens peer cultures. familiar playground practices and borderwork (Thorne, 1993), which characterize childrens non- digital play, are still very salient and cannot be ignored importance of hypermasculinity and heteronormativity for this group of children 20. Game Over? what exists is far from filling all possible spaces What can be played? Michael Foucault (1997, p. 139-140) 21. More info Email: Twitter: @nicolapallitt Thesis available at