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ERIC Number: EJ810823
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Apr
Pages: 26
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 33
ISSN: ISSN-1074-9039
From Resistance to Involvement: Examining Agency and Control in a Playworld Activity
Rainio, Anna Pauliina
Mind, Culture, and Activity, v15 n2 p115-140 Apr 2008
In the recent sociocultural literature, it is possible to identify at least three ways of understanding the development of individual agency in social practices: (a) through transforming the object of activity and through self-change, (b) through responsible and intentional membership, and (c) through resistance and transformation of the dominant power relations. This article puts these different perspectives in a dialogical relation to each other and examines the development of individual agency in the context of schooling. The problem of promoting student agency is that, although personal sense and motivation are crucial for learning and development, the need for control and order in classrooms often makes it hard for teachers to give space to them. To develop more meaningful educational practices, there is a need for a thorough understanding of the ways through which teachers and students deal with and momentarily overcome this contradiction in their classrooms and are able to enact or promote agency. The article introduces an empirical case study of Anton, a 7-year-old boy's participation in a joint narrative classroom practice. Anton's orientation and interest toward the narrative activity alters drastically during the spring, as does the teachers' understanding and attitude toward him. Moreover, in Anton's participation, all the three different formulations of agency just presented are visible and concurrently "in action." The article creates conceptual and analytical tools for examining the potential that "narrative" learning settings provide for supporting children's engagement and development in classrooms. (Contains 3 tables, 1 figure, and 5 footnotes.)
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A