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Examining the playground as a civic space through the lens of play

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This article explores the playground space as a public space through the lens of children's play. It proposes an alternative theorisation of the playground as a site of civic action through intergenerational play. 'Ground' and 'play', the two main elements of the playground, form the thread around which this article develops. The common perception of the playground space, emerging through time as a child-centred space, is questioned. Play is seen as the means to participation and not as an activity just taking place in the playground space. It is argued that in the fluid boundaries of children's play, the symbolic space is constantly changing and re-created while, through intergenerational contact, new circumstances emerge in which the child is an active, integral member. Enacted in the playground, play has the potential to transform it into a genuine public place of intergenerational contact and participation.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Email: [email protected]

Publication date: 01 April 2015

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  • The Journal of Playwork Practice aims to advance playwork research and practice by providing the first ever interdisciplinary platform for the publication and dissemination of scholarship relevant to playwork practice. The Journal of Playwork Practice bridges the playwork theory-practice divide by facilitating practitioner access to research relevant to their practice, and enables researchers interested in 'playwork' to access a hitherto inaccessible field of practice and its literature.

    The Journal of Playwork Practice was published by Policy Press from 2014 to 2017, and will return with its new publisher as the International Journal of Playwork Practice in 2019. Further information is available at:

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