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The construction of childhood, learning and play: an evolutionary and ecological revision

The construction of childhood, learning and play: an evolutionary and ecological revision

Smith, John A. (2013) The construction of childhood, learning and play: an evolutionary and ecological revision. Youth & Policy, 111. pp. 44-57. ISSN 0262-9798

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Abstract

This article provides a critique of the simpler forms of social constructionism as a paradigm for understanding play and suggests that an interdisciplinary combination of social construction and evolutionary psychology and biology is necessary. Despite recognition of the importance of play in cognitive and social development there is still a persistent view of play as something humans do – and which appears irrational or wasteful in evolutionary terms: a surplus to be to be minimised. However evolutionary biology shows that play is widespread in the animal kingdom. If play is an evolutionary stable strategy then it is mistaken to think it is superfluous and confined to humans. Nor is play a phenomenon of childhood. It may be seen instead as an essential characteristic of social communication, invention and solidarity.This echoes E.O. Wilson’s work on sociobiology and the need for consilience between the social, the psychological and the physical sciences.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: [1] To be published in special issue of Youth and Policy - with theme 'Youth, Recreation and Play.' [2] The Youth & Policy Journal was founded in 1982 to offer a critical space for the discussion of youth policy and youth work theory and practice. The Youth & Policy editorial group works in partnership with a range of local and national voluntary and statutory organisations who have complementary purposes. These have included UK Youth, YMCA, Muslim Youth Council and Durham University.
Uncontrolled Keywords: evolutionary psychology, sociobiology, post-natal plasticity
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1501 Primary Education
Pre-2014 Departments: School of Education
School of Education > Education Research Group
Related URLs:
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2016 09:22
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/9097

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