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The Red Blanket: A dance of animacy

MacRae, Christina (2019) The Red Blanket: A dance of animacy. Global Studies of Childhood. ISSN 2043-6106


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This article will focus in on one short play spell in the outdoor space of a classroom of 2-year-olds. Using the medium of video as data, it explores the way that children’s bodies are caught up in what Ingold calls a ‘dance of animacy’, when bodies and matter encounter each other. I will deploy the figure of the ‘post-human’ child to challenge a conception of play whose outcome is a child’s mastery – of self and of the world. Instead, I would like to propose that play is a way of being of the world. This re-conceptualising of play comes through a much closer attention to the moving body as it encounters the world, looking at points of contact where bodies and matter animate each other. By playing with film data in slow motion, I will put Manning’s notion of the minor gesture to work, as a way to resist more normative accounts of play, where play is coupled to cognitive and social stages of development.

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