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Turning the World Upside Down: Playing as the Deliberate Creation of Uncertainty

Faculty of Applied Sciences, University of Gloucestershire, Oxstalls Campus, Oxstalls Lane, Gloucester GL2 9HW, UK
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Children 2014, 1(2), 241-260; https://doi.org/10.3390/children1020241
Received: 27 June 2014 / Accepted: 19 August 2014 / Published: 15 September 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of Play in Children’s Health and Development)
Risk is big business. It has assumed almost universal acceptance as an ever-present reality of life, something out there waiting to cause harm (most notably to political, economic and health systems). It commands vast resources to develop preventative measures that are the preserve of experts issuing often contradictory advice and warnings. Children’s play is caught up in this account. No longer something that children just do, it is subject to adult scrutiny that simultaneously and paradoxically attempts to manage risk and promote “risk-taking” for its perceived instrumental benefits, primarily the development of risk assessing skills. Adults thus guide children’s play, rendering children passive and needy recipients of expertise. This article takes a broader perspective to consider how this contemporary understanding of risk plays out in material discursive practices in relation to childhood, play, health and wellbeing. It then draws on conceptual tools of relationality, materiality and performativity to reconfigure playing as an emergent co-production of entangled bodies, affects, objects, space and histories in ways that make life better for the time of playing. Such moments produce health-affirming potential as an intra-dependent phenomenon rather than an individual achievement. Finally, it considers implications for “health promotion” and health enabling environments. View Full-Text
Keywords: play; risk; childhood; health; well-being; biopolitics; posthumanism; relationality; materiality; performativity play; risk; childhood; health; well-being; biopolitics; posthumanism; relationality; materiality; performativity
MDPI and ACS Style

Lester, S.; Russell, W. Turning the World Upside Down: Playing as the Deliberate Creation of Uncertainty. Children 2014, 1, 241-260.

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