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ERIC Number: ED263990
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1985-Sep
Pages: 7
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
The Identification of Play.
Cornwell, David; Hobbs, Sandy
Several approaches to the study of play are examined and critiqued, including Matthews and Matthews' (1982) paradigm case approach and Sutton-Smith and Kelly-Byrne's (1984) view of play as a commonly-recognized-as-framed event in which the metacommunicative function always retains primacy. Consideration of the genesis of play in the child leads to doubt concerning the assumption that the identification of play is unproblematic because everyone knows play as framed. Freud's interpretation of the fantasy play of 18-month-old Ernst Halberstadt is a case in point, since it required familiarity with other features of the child's circumstances which could not be known by observation only. Quite likely it is necessary to take account of the individual child's reactional biography to provide an adequate description of apparently spontaneous play. "Framing," too, may have its genesis in reactional biography and may not withstand close study. Matthews and Matthews are correct to say that no scientific definiton of play exists. That does not mean it is not worth attempting to produce one. Deciding whether to abandon "play" as a candidate scientific term will ultimately require considerably more facts about playing and the identification of play than those presently known. (RH)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the International Symposium, "Play, Play Therapy, Play Research" (Amsterdam, Netherlands, September 12-14, 1985).