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ERIC Number: ED570073
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 239
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3397-6260-9
Children's Worlds: An Exploration of Latino Students' Play in Rural New Mexico
Ulibarri, Reyna M.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Indiana University
I present an ethnographic study of thirteen nine-year-old, U.S.-born Latino children in rural New Mexico. I employ in-depth individual and group interviews, participant observation, and sand play (a method borrowed from clinical psychology in which children "make a world" in a box of sand) to explore how play interactions represent, invert, and contest their everyday lives as active participants in both their own peer culture and society as a whole. A nuanced understanding of Latino children is particularly vital because they are the fastest growing segment of the United States population and yet remain under-represented in sociological research and over-represented as the victims and causes of social problems. Research that highlights diversity within this pan-ethnic group and represents a broad range of social experiences is needed. I contribute to this illumination of Latino social experiences by defining play from a child-centered perspective as the pursuit of fun. The details of how these children have fun contribute to sociological understandings of children's peer cultures and childhood as both a diverse experience and a social category. I discuss how power and social affiliation emerge during pretend play and rule-based game play. Gaining power--be it imaginary, such as pretending to be a teacher, or real, such as leading a game--is fun because it gives children an element of control over their lives. However, for these children, the desire for power is surpassed by their desire to play together peacefully, and they collaboratively adjust rules to satisfy everyone. The scenes and stories they create during sand play reveal creative interpretations of media, active participation in religion, and complex depictions of conflict, death, and destruction. These findings place a marginalized population at the center of attention and demonstrate that a matter as seemingly insignificant as fun can teach us much about social interaction. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New Mexico