Re: [xmca] sense and meaning

From: Wolff-Michael Roth (
Date: Wed Jul 13 2005 - 10:40:34 PDT

On 13-Jul-05, at 10:03 AM, Ana Marjanovic-Shane wrote:

> Wolff-Michael,
> I think that play begins before  or at the same time as language.
> Bruner described "peeka-a-boo" as very early forms of play that adults
> introduce, but it quickly becomes "asked for" by children.

I think that rather than beginning with play--which for all I know may
be a particular activity form in Western bourgeois culture (do all
cultures engage in the same forms of play, in activities that you
denote as play? do all people in the Western culture do it this way? or
do workers, people in poverty, the down and out interact with their
children in the same way?--begin with a cultural historical analysis.
For beginners, see what beings with early, rudimentary cultural forms
do, like the apes, whales, and some monkeys.

Don't begin your analysis with play, for play is may be a
preconstructed category (see Bourdieu on the danger of working with
such categories).

So when and how did "play" emerge from what humans did, especially,
when did "play" become a category for us that we distinguish from other
things we do. Certainly, wolf cubs "playing" in front of their den do
not "think" of what they do as "play".

Similarly, children in their cribs, just born, do not "think" of what
they do as "play"; children "play" and know to "play" much later in
their lives, and you got to get there from the beginning, showing how
consciousness unfolds until it gets to the split between play and other
activity forms.

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