Ludic geographies

Tara Louise Woodyer, Diana Martin, Sean Carter

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


    In many ways, twenty-first century (western) childhood may be characterized by a cacophony of moral panics. Spatiality is pertinent, if not central to these moral panics, not least those concerning contemporary children’s play. Yet, despite this, the presence of spatiality within play research beyond the geographical discipline is at best marginal. This chapter examines how geographical work is well placed to challenge problematic characteristics of agenda-setting discourses about children’s play. This is not restricted to the marginal presence of spatiality, but extends to the nostalgic reification of ‘innocent’ play, the valorization of a developmental approach, and a limited apprehension of embodiment and materiality. The chapter begins with an overview of geographical work that has favored the outdoor spaces of the playground, street and neighborhood, and emphasizes how children’s independent spatial mobility has changed over time. It then introduces more recent and emerging trends, namely, attempts to (1) position children’s play within a broader context and stress its contribution to the reproduction and shaping of ‘adult’ society; and (2) recognize vitality as the intrinsic purpose and value of play, and the role of materiality, embodiment and affectivity to this. Whilst it is shown there is much to celebrate in relation to geographical research on play, it is argued that geographers could and should do more to better understand play from the player’s perspective and challenge the prevailing direction of play research beyond the discipline.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationPlay, recreation, health and wellbeing
    EditorsJohn Horton, Bethan Evans, Tracey Skelton
    Place of PublicationSingapore
    ISBN (Electronic)9789814585514
    ISBN (Print)9789814585507
    Publication statusPublished - 2016

    Publication series

    NameGeographies of Children and Young People


    • WNU
    • RCUK
    • ESRC
    • ES/L001926/1


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