n African Journal of Rhetoric - Play rhetoric across generations within family : a window of opportunity to discern the African condition

Volume 3, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1998-2054


That children's play is changing at a rapid pace globally may no longer be disputed. It is the nature of the change, factors associated with it, as well as its impact on society that may bring forth differing views from scholars on play across various disciplines. Much of the documented research on play has focused on the transactional relationship between technology and children's everyday culture in recent decades (LEGO® Learning Institute, 2003), highlighting children's agency in determining the place for technology and the media in their lives, especially as children interact with each other. In much of the text about children's play, adults have been cast as either irrelevant (Barnes & Kehily 2003) or as powerful social agents whom children constantly have to elude, deceive, or resist as they craft their own play cultures (Formanek-Brunell 1992; Wilkie 2000). This often dichotomous view of children versus adults in relation to children's play has obscured a candid analysis of what the changing rhetoric of play means for family and society, and what signals may be read in the forms that it takes as it transforms from one generation to the next. By using a case study of one family, and describing how across three generations the rhetoric of play changed from being about identity, to being complex, this paper aims to argue that the nature of change in children's play over time may mirror a general societal struggle for identity, as well as reflect African families' local negotiation of the global space.

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