Research Topics

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    inter/cross generational play

    Play has social, cultural, cognitive, and material benefits to/across generations, from young children to older adults. While many agree that play holds benefits for each generation, this research topic explores research on intergenerational play—the intersection of generations around shared activity (i.e., sports, media, television, toys, and games).
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    curriculum and pedagogy

    School is not usually a space associated with play. In fact, the push for academic rigor leaves little room for play in the official curricular activity. Yet, children and teachers often find room to play – with ideas, materials, boundaries, conditions, environments, and official curriculum. This research topic highlights research that occurs at the intersection […]
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    play and affect

    What does play actually sound, look, and feel like? Play is often viewed as joyful and carefree, mobilized by images of happy children. Play, in its current imaginary, limits the range of emotions encompassing play–particularly how play can also be frustrating, tense, violent, and not always a perfect picture of pleasure and cooperation. Furthermore, play […]
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    pop culture/media and the “stuff” of childhood

    This research topic examines the “stuff of childhood” or those material artifacts that facilitate how children play in both scripted and unscripted ways. Pop culture, media, and other artifacts of childhood, ranging from films, television, music, literature, toys, games, etc. are sources of education, imagination, and reflection for young people, serving as both mirrors and […]
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    (play)grounds and spatial environments

    This research topic explores the spatial and environmental conditions that facilitate, expand, bound, and surveil play. Play scholars across history have demonstrated how young people use imaginative and fantasy play to craft intricate and complex play scenarios even without any specific materials or artifacts. Play is facilitated by peers and the resources within the spaces […]
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    play in/under conflict

    At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, children’s access to playspaces such as playgrounds, schoolyards, and community centers was truncated, leaving them with the challenge of inventing new forms of play in novel spaces. This research topic explores children’s inventiveness in seeking out play amidst geographic and social constraints.
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    play and access

    Access to play is inequitably distributed along intersectional identities of race, gender, sexuality, class, disability, and citizenship. Children are born into specific childhoods and conditions, mediated by how their identities limit, surveil, and narrow the possibilities of playful experiences. Therefore, the opportunities to play are not available to all children across social, cultural, and political […]
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    researching/documenting play

    This research topic explores the use of digital, multimodal, ethnographic, and collaborative approaches to the study and documentation of play across ages and settings.
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    online play spaces

    Digital tools, technological innovation, and online spaces continue to be sites of play across generations. Gaming, participatory online communities, and social media continue to mediate friendships and social connections for young people. This research topic explores types and forms of play that unfold in online spaces such as social media, digital gaming, and virtual reality […]
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    play and civic engagement

    Young people are part of the political landscape simply by their presence. Media reports amplify children engaged in overtly political acts – marches, speeches, activist work, etc. Children are also used to forward political agendas – they are seen as the “future” we hope to protect. The research topic explores the body of work that […]
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