Not Signed-In
Which clippings match 'Childhood Agency' keyword pg.1 of 1
17 DECEMBER 2015

Even tails can have unexpected affordances

"Affordance is a term used to describe the potential uses or actions latent in materials and designs. Glass affords transparency and brittleness. Steel affords strength, smoothness, hardness, and durability. Cotton affords fluffiness, but also breathable cloth when it is spun into yarn and thread. Specific designs, which organize these materials, then lay claim to their own range of affordances. A fork affords stabbing and scooping. A doorknob affords not only hardness and durability, but also turning, pushing, and pulling. Designed things may also have unexpected affordances generated by imaginative users: we may hang signs or clothes on a doorknob, for example, or use a fork to pry open a lid, and so expand the intended affordances of an object."

Caroline Levine (2015) "Forms: Whole, Rhythm, Hierarchy, Network", Princeton University Press.

Fig.1 YouTube clip titled "What tails are for!" showing an unexpected affordance for a dog's tail.



affordancescandid videochildhood agencychildhood imaginationchildhood innocence • children and their pets • designed thingsdivergent thinkingdog • dogs tail • free range playimaginative thinking • imaginative users • intended affordances • Lance Ellis • latent actions • latent uses • mischievous behaviour • painting a picture • perceivable action possibilities • potential actions latent in designs • potential actions latent in materials • potential uses latent in designs • potential uses latent in materials • rethinking limitations • tail • technology affordances • unexpected affordances • useful significanceyoung child


Simon Perkins
17 NOVEMBER 2014

Mapping the geography of childhood playscapes

"In 1972, the British–born geography student Roger Hart settled on an unusual project for his dissertation. He moved to a rural New England town and, for two years, tracked the movements of 86 children in the local elementary school, to create what he called a 'geography of children,' including actual maps that would show where and how far the children typically roamed away from home. Usually research on children is conducted by interviewing parents, but Hart decided he would go straight to the source. The principal of the school lent him a room, which became known as 'Roger's room,' and he slowly got to know the children. Hart asked them questions about where they went each day and how they felt about those places, but mostly he just wandered around with them. Even now, as a father and a settled academic, Hart has a dreamy, puckish air. Children were comfortable with him and loved to share their moments of pride, their secrets. Often they took him to places adults had never seen before–playhouses or forts the kids had made just for themselves.

Hart's methodology was novel, but he didn't think he was recording anything radical. Many of his observations must have seemed mundane at the time. For example: 'I was struck by the large amount of time children spend modifying the landscape in order to make places for themselves and for their play.' But reading his dissertation today feels like coming upon a lost civilization, a child culture with its own ways of playing and thinking and feeling that seems utterly foreign now. The children spent immense amounts of time on their own, creating imaginary landscapes their parents sometimes knew nothing about. The parents played no role in their coming together–'it is through cycling around that the older boys chance to fall into games with each other,' Hart observed. The forts they built were not praised and cooed over by their parents, because their parents almost never saw them.

Through his maps, Hart discovered broad patterns: between second and third grade, for instance, the children's 'free range'–the distance they were allowed to travel away from home without checking in first–tended to expand significantly, because they were permitted to ride bikes alone to a friend's house or to a ball field. By fifth grade, the boys especially gained a 'dramatic new freedom' and could go pretty much wherever they wanted without checking in at all. (The girls were more restricted because they often helped their mothers with chores or errands, or stayed behind to look after younger siblings.) To the children, each little addition to their free range–being allowed to cross a paved road, or go to the center of town–was a sign of growing up. The kids took special pride, Hart noted, in 'knowing how to get places,' and in finding shortcuts that adults wouldn't normally use."

(Hanna Rosin, April 2014, The Atlantic)

Roger Hart (1979). "Children's Experience of Place", Irvington.



1972 • ad-hoc geographies • alone but not lonely • being allowed • childhood agency • creating imaginary landscapes • dissertation project • elementary schoolenvironmental psychology • environments for children • fifth grade • free range playgrowing upHanna Rosin • how children learn • how children play • kid-oriented experienceslearning by doing • making places • modifying landscape • New England • observation (data collection) • open spacesopen-ended play spaces • overprotection • patterns of usepersonal autonomypersonal freedompersonal responsibility • places for children • play fort • playhouses • playscapes • riding bikes • risk-taking • Roger Hart • route mapscriptible spaces • second grade • smooth phenomenal spacesocial constructionismsocial geographysocial researchspaces for childrenthird gradeurban mapping


Simon Perkins
23 NOVEMBER 2009

Intertextual Enterprises: Writing Alternative Places and Meanings in the Media Mixed Networks of Yugioh

"The media mix of Pokemon, and subsequent series such as Digimon and Yugioh, create a virtual world that manifests in multiple media forms, and though which consumers can craft their own narrative trajectories through play with video and card games (Allison 2002; Tobin 2004a). This is a networked world of expanding reference that destabilizes the prior orthodoxy of children's media (Tobin 2004a). Rather than spoon–feed stabilized narratives and heroes to a supposedly passive audience, Pokemon and Yugioh invite children to collect, acquire, recombine, and enact stories within their peer networks, trading cards, information, and monsters (Buckingham and Sefton–Green 2004; Yano 2004) in what Sefton–Green has called a 'knowledge industry' (Sefton–Green 2004, 151). These media mixes challenge our ideas of childhood agency and the passivity of media consumption, highlighting the active, entrepreneurial, and technologized aspects of children's engagement with popular culture. They also create a proliferating set of contact points between practice, media, and imaginings, as players perform and identify with media characters in multiple and often unexpected ways.

An early draft of a paper published in Debbora Battaglia Ed. Encountering the Extraterrestrial: Anthropology in Outerspaces. Duke University Press. 2005. This paper was first presented at the 2002 meetings of the American Anthropological Association"

(Mimi Ito)



2005 • alternative places • card gamechildhood agencychildrens mediacollaborationcollectcommunityconsumersDigimondigital culture • enact • engagemententrepreneurshipgamesheroesimaginingsinteractionintertextuality • knowledge industry • media characters • media consumption • media mix • Mimi Itomonster • narrative trajectories • narrativesnetworked worldorthodoxypassive audience • peer networks • play • players • Pokemonpopular culture • recombine • social interaction • stabilisation • story • technologised • trading cardsvideovirtual worldYugioh


Simon Perkins

to Folksonomy

Can't access your account?

New to Folksonomy?

Sign-Up or learn more.