Theorists of child development, for the most part, have taken white, middle class, Euro-American children as the norm. These "typical" children, however, are exposed to two major enculturating influences that are by no means common across cultures: formal schooling and parents who consciously attempt to serve as teachers at home. Providing an important contribution toward a more universal understanding of child development, this book concentrates on children of the Kpelle-speaking people of West Africa, who grow up neither spending thousands of hours in quiet study nor receiving a heavy dose of parent tutelage. Acknowledging the centrality of play in children's lives, the Kpelle expect their children to play "on the mother ground," or open spaces adjacent to the areas where adults are likely to be working. Here, children observe the work that adults do as they engage in voluntary activities or "routines" that serve a clear enculturating function. With photographs and vivid first-hand description, the author demonstrates the impact of games, folklore, and other routines on early development among the Kpelle and in other non-Western cultures. He persuasively argues that such enduring routines for raising children as those observed in the Kpelle village are universal and not limited to rural societies, though they take a variety of forms depending on the society. Ethnographically rich and theoretically sophisticated, the book provides a sound empirical foundation for a practice-based theory of child development.
Enriched with anecdotes from ethnography and the daily media, this revised edition examines family structure, reproduction, profiles of children's caretakers, their treatment at different ages, their play, work, schooling, and transition to adulthood. The result is a nuanced and credible picture of childhood in different cultures, past and present.
There has been a growing academic interest in the role of outdoor spaces for play in a child's development. This text represents a coordinated and comprehensive volume of international research on this subject edited by members of the well-established European Early Childhood Education Research Association Outdoor Play and Learning SIG (OPAL). Chapters written by authors from Europe, North and South America, Australasia and Asia Pacific countries are organised into six sections: Theoretical Frameworks and Conceptual Approaches for Understanding Outdoor Play & Learning Critical Reflections on Policy and Regulation in Outdoor Play & Learning Children's Engagement with Nature, Sustainability and Children's Geographies Diverse Contexts and Inclusion in Children's Outdoor Play Environments Methodologies for Researching Outdoor Play and Learning Links Between Research and Practice
This first major anthropological reference book on childhood learning considers the cultural aspects of learning in childhood from the points of view of psychologists, sociologists, educators, and anthropologists.
Childhood Deployed examines the reintegration of former child soldiers in Sierra Leone. Based on eighteen months of participant-observer ethnographic fieldwork and ten years of follow-up research, the book argues that there is a fundamental disconnect between the Western idea of the child soldier and the individual lived experiences of the child soldiers of Sierra Leone. Susan Shepler contends that the reintegration of former child soldiers is a political process having to do with changing notions of childhood as one of the central structures of society. For most Westerners the tragedy of the idea of “child soldier” centers around perceptions of lost and violated innocence. In contrast, Shepler finds that for most Sierra Leoneans, the problem is not lost innocence but the horror of being separated from one’s family and the resulting generational break in youth education. Further, Shepler argues that Sierra Leonean former child soldiers find themselves forced to strategically perform (or refuse to perform) as the“child soldier” Western human rights initiatives expect in order to most effectively gain access to the resources available for their social reintegration. The strategies don’t always work—in some cases, Shepler finds, Western human rights initiatives do more harm than good. While this volume focuses on the well-known case of child soldiers in Sierra Leone, it speaks to the larger concerns of childhood studies with a detailed ethnography of people struggling over the situated meaning of the categories of childhood.It offers an example of the cultural politics of childhood in action, in which the very definition of childhood is at stake and an important site of political contestation.
The complex nature of play studies is revealed through a broad range of topics from a variety of perspectives. The diverse articles in this volume range from theoretical and conceptual advances, scientific investigations, to discourse about applied issues and different dimensions of play. In the conceptual papers, the authors provide excursions into the adaptive, cultural, and social significance of play.
This reader, organized chronologically, is composed of articles from scientific journals that introduce the reader to contemporary research in the field of lifespan development. Readings are arranged by chronological age periods to correspond with most lifespan development reference books, and will provide readers with a deeper understanding of developmental psychology and familiarize them with contemporary research in the field. MARKET : students of psychology, education, human development or family studies with an interest in development, or anyone else with an interest in the subject.
This innovative book finally takes seriously the need for anthropologists to produce in-depth ethnographies of children's play. In examining the subject from a cross-cultural perspective, the author argues that our understanding of the way children transform their environment to create make-believe is enhanced by viewing their creations as oral poetry. The result is a richly detailed 'thick description' of how pretence is socially mediated and linguistically constructed, how children make sense of their own play, how play relates to other imaginative genres in Huli life, and the relationship between play and cosmology. Informed by theoretical approaches in the anthropology of play, developmental and child psychology, philosophy and phenomenology and drawing on ethnographic data from Melanesia, the book analyzes the sources for imitation, the kinds of identities and roles emulated, and the structure of collaborative make-believe talk to reveal the complex way in which children invoke their experiences of the world and re-invent them as types of virtual reality. Particular importance is placed on how the figures of the ogre and trickster are articulated. The author demonstrates that while the concept of 'imagination' has been the cornerstone of Western intellectual traditions from Plato to Postmodernism, models of child fantasy play have always intruded into such theorizing because of children's unique capacity to throw into relief our understanding of the relationship between representation and reality.