Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: May 18, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412971935 | Print ISBN: 9781412966702 | Online ISBN: 9781412971935| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Play as Learning, Anthropology of
Diane E. Lang
Play is a major means through which children learn local social norms, expectations, and ways of being—in other words, to become enculturated. Forms of play allow for the enactment and manipulation of roles, identities, customs, rituals, traditions, and everyday ways of life. Through playing with cultural artifacts and enacting social roles with others, children become members of their society and develop deep understanding of cultural systems. Children can also, through play, influence their societies through the pushing on and pulling of dimensions of cultural life. A current example of this is the amount of time children, and people in general, in Western cultures play interactive Internet-based games. This increasing influence is impacting the social construction of social concepts such as “friend” and “private.” The field of anthropology is interested in humankind through evolution and time; specifically, anthropologists tend to be interested in the ways that human groups are similar and ...