Is it play? Towards a reconceptualisation of role-play from an activity theory perspective.

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Abstract

This article proposes a reconceptualisation of role play on the basis of the Cultural-Historical theory (Vygotskij -Leont'ev - El'konin). The theory conceives of play as a specific mode of activity defined by a format that includes three basic parameters (rules, degrees of freedom and involvement). Reasoning from this Cultural-Historical Activity Theory about play offers answers to different problems that views on play have been struggling with for a long time, especially regarding the role of adults with respect to role play, the nature of playful learning, and the clarification of the development of playing in the course of ontogeny. A number of possible objections to this approach are discussed as well as possible advantages. Fundamentally, a Cultural-Historical approach to play implies the rejection of developmentalism and turns play into a cultural problem, based on the decisions educators have to make about what is culturally acceptable in (children's) play activities. © 2013 Copyright EECERA.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-198
Number of pages13
JournalEuropean Early Childhood Education Research Journal
Volume21
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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