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[Xmca-l] Re: Fun &Games



I wonder if the distinction between fun and play is really quite culturally and linguistically specific. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think the French really have ‘fun’, although ‘on peut s’amuser’. So the nearest French equivalent is a verb, not a noun, and it definitely has something to do with how they feel.

Our word ‘fun’, as a noun, is more of a ‘thing', but it still seems to imply a joyful feeling. ‘Play’ may or may not imply this, but it refers more specifically to a form of activity - I like Rolf’s suggestion of Bateson’s ‘metacommunicative frame’. There’s a fair bit of overlap in the meaning, but I wonder if the distinction in English serves to help us focus on the feeling versus the kind of activity.

That’s probably why ‘fun’ lends itself better to advertising (at least, I think it does - I don’t have any evidence handy).

Helen

> On 19 Aug 2015, at 8:54 pm, Rolf Steier <rolfsteier@gmail.com> wrote:
> 
> I think the distinction between play and fun is a really difficult one to
> pin down, but one that I am also interested in. Bateson presents play as a
> kind of metacommunicative frame for an activity. ( I may be
> mis-remembering, but I believe ‘play’ is actually the concept he uses to
> illustrate his perspective on framing). This view seems to treat play in
> opposition to reality. In your example - shucking corn could perhaps be
> viewed as ‘play’ if the object of the activity were something other than
> simply shucking corn (a competition, an act of pretend, etc).
> 
> Fun, to me, seems to be more about one’s engagement with an activity and
> doesn’t necessarily depend on the activity’s status as ‘play’ or ‘not
> play’. If play involves the meta-structure of an activity, then maybe ‘fun’
> is more associated with emotion, motivation and engagement. Play and fun
> are often thrown around in museum contexts as ideals for engaging young
> visitors, but I’m not aware of any work to conceptualize or distinguish
> them. If anyone has some suggested readings, i would definitely be
> interested. Fun question!
> 
> rolf
> 
> On Wed, Aug 19, 2015 at 7:34 AM, Greg Thompson <greg.a.thompson@gmail.com>
> wrote:
> 
>> Mike,
>> I think David was just having a little fun with your post.
>> 
>> But seriously (i.e., no fun ;-( ), I'm wondering a bit about what "fun" is?
>> How do you define it? Are you defining it Justice Potter
>> Stewart--pornography style? (Okay, now I'm having fun!).
>> 
>> So what is it?
>> 
>> And, more importantly, are we having fun (yet)?
>> 
>> -greg
>> 
>> On Tue, Aug 18, 2015 at 3:47 PM, mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu> wrote:
>> 
>>> Hi David--
>>> 
>>> I was just beginning to wonder if anyone had any interest in my question
>>> about play and fun.
>>> 
>>> I found a lot interesting about your note, but I fear that, perhaps
>> because
>>> of the specific framework you are using to interpret the question, the
>>> answer does not seem to help much. I was including preschoolers in my
>> badly
>>> formed notion of an age range of humans.
>>> 
>>> I had two 7 year olds over last weekend. They were adamently NOT
>> interested
>>> in doing any household chores, but they sure had fun shucking corn for
>>> dinner and even want to wash the car, but drought conditions forbid
>>> it. My wife and I have fun trying to finish the Times crossword puzzle,
>>> congratulating outselves when we make it to Wednesday. And I often have
>> fun
>>> cooking snacks for kids at the afterschool center where I used to have a
>>> presumably serious minded task at hand. Not play. Not a game. But fun.
>>> 
>>> It can happen, I surmise, during any part of a stable developmental phase
>>> or at the beginning, middle, or end, of a crisis (despite the negative
>>> emotional connotations of the word).
>>> 
>>> Maybe to vague a wondering to be useful.
>>> Happy to discuss the topics you raise, but how about a header change?
>>> 
>>> mike
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> On Tue, Aug 18, 2015 at 2:24 PM, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com>
>>> wrote:
>>> 
>>>> Mike:
>>>> 
>>>> In our presentation over the summer in Kangwondo, we tried to consider
>>>> various forms of the "next zone of development" as diagnostic rather
>> than
>>>> pedagogical devices. That is, we tried to take seriously the idea tha
>> the
>>>> Zoped is not a "zone of proximal development" or a "zone of pedogogical
>>>> development" but rather a zone of pedalogical development, a way of
>>>> diagnosing what the child's next zone of development. This seems like
>> an
>>>> important thing to do; without it, the tendency to reduce the Zoped to
>> a
>>>> teaching/learning device rather than a developmental diagnostic (as
>>>> Vygotsky intended it) is hard to resist.
>>>> 
>>>> When we read Vygotsky's unfinished papers on "Child Development"
>> (Volume
>>>> Four of the Russian Collected Works and also the 2001 "Lectures on
>>>> Pedology" published in Izhevsk) we get the impression that the schedule
>>> of
>>>> development that Vygotsky had in mind is both too delicate and not
>>> delicate
>>>> enough. It's too delicate because, for example, you have the crisis at
>>>> seventeen which occurs right in the middle of a stable age (puberty)
>>> after
>>>> which the child apparently simply goes on with the stable age--we can
>>> only
>>>> explain this by the circumstance, peculiar to the USSR of the time,
>> that
>>> at
>>>> seventeen youth were required to decide whether they were going to
>> leave
>>>> school and work or enter a preparatory school for higher education.
>> It's
>>>> not delicate enough because, for example, the Age of Infancy overlaps
>>> with
>>>> the Crisis at One by at least two months (ten months to twelve months)
>>>> during which time some very important changes are taking place in the
>>>> child's semantics (according to Halliday, 2002, "The Language of Early
>>>> Childhood").
>>>> 
>>>> There's a way out. Vygotsky also says that the critical periods have a
>>>> three part structure (pre-peak, peak, and post-peak) and the stable
>>> periods
>>>> a two part structure (early and late).  In addition, the neoformation
>>> which
>>>> defines each age period emerges at the END of the age period and not
>> the
>>>> beginning. So the next zone of development not only predicts the gross
>>>> changes of child development which we now simply predict using the
>>> calendar
>>>> (Infancy, Crisis at One, Early Childhood, Crisis at Three, Preschool,
>>>> etc.) but also the next phase within each period. It can do this by
>>> tracing
>>>> the child's progress along a main line of development (we called this a
>>>> "central line of development" when you, me and Andy were working on
>>> Volume
>>>> Four, but I notice in the pedalogical lectures that Vygotsky prefers
>> the
>>>> term "main line of development"). This means the diagnostic next zone
>> of
>>>> development (that diagnostic Zoped) actually predicts both the next age
>>>> stage (the "objective" ZPD, to use Chaiklin's terminology) and the next
>>>> step within each age period (what Chaiklin calls the "subjective" one).
>>>> 
>>>> Speech is the main line of development only in early childhood. But
>> after
>>>> early childhood the main lines of development turn out to be various
>>> forms
>>>> of verbal thinking (negation at three, play in preschool, "clowning
>>>> around" at seven,  and conscious awareness and mastery at school age,
>>>> concept development in puberty). This really makes perfect sense:
>>>> development is, at least at the beginning of each period,  more about
>>>> differentiation than about growth. So if we apply this little insight
>> to
>>>> the problem you name--the problem of having fun, play, and games--we
>>> obtain
>>>> a process of differentiation: games are a form of play (but not all
>> play
>>> is
>>>> a game), play is a form of having fun (but not all fun is play).
>>>> 
>>>> In our Kangwando presentation we used a rather course method to
>>>> differentiate having fun, play, and games: rote, role, and rule. Rote
>>> play
>>>> is "having fun", or what Vygotsky calls "quasi-play", that is,
>>> sensorimotor
>>>> repetition, something which never goes away from play  but which
>>> transfers
>>>> its functions upward to role play. Role play is the creation of an
>>>> imaginary situation, but it is an imaginary situation in which the
>> rules
>>>> are imaginary and not explicitly stated and objectively shared. Only
>> rule
>>>> play--that is, formal games--represents the final form of preschool
>> play:
>>>> rote play (having fun) and role play (imaginary play) are transitional
>>>> forms which do not die out but which transfer their functions to higher
>>>> forms as they arise.
>>>> 
>>>> David Kellogg
>>>> 
>>>> On Tue, Aug 18, 2015 at 12:47 PM, mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu> wrote:
>>>> 
>>>>> I have been led to wonder -- what is the relationship between having
>>> fun
>>>>> and playing.  How do they differ? Does their relationship, if they
>> are
>>>> not
>>>>> reducible one to the other, change over the course of development?
>> Odd
>>>> how
>>>>> the category of fun is absent from developmental discourse.
>>>>> Mike
>>>>> 
>>>>> 
>>>>> 
>>>>> --
>>>>> 
>>>>> It is the dilemma of psychology to deal as a natural science with an
>>>>> object that creates history. Ernst Boesch
>>>>> 
>>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> --
>>> 
>>> It is the dilemma of psychology to deal as a natural science with an
>>> object that creates history. Ernst Boesch
>>> 
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> --
>> Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
>> Assistant Professor
>> Department of Anthropology
>> 880 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
>> Brigham Young University
>> Provo, UT 84602
>> http://byu.academia.edu/GregoryThompson
>>