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Power to imagination: An ethnography of imaginary play between children and adults at an afterschool program

  • Author(s): Rodriguez, Lilia
  • Advisor(s): Orellana, Marjorie
  • et al.
Abstract

In this dissertation study I employ ethnographic research methods to explore play at a multi-generational, multi-cultural afterschool program. Drawing on the New Childhoods perspective and drawing on sociocultural and cultural-historical activity theory (CHAT) approaches to learning, I explored the ways that children enacted and transformed their social worlds in and through play with peers, undergraduate college students, and researchers. The study analyzed the development of activities in the afterschool program, and the ways that adults employed mediation strategies that facilitated, supported, or constrained children’s play. Findings show that adults had to (re)learn how to play and re-imagine themselves as collaborators of play. Findings have practical and methodological implications for anthropological research and afterschool programming.

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