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date: 14 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Playfulness is a distinctive feature of human behavior across history and cultures. The status of playing in society is still a matter of dispute. In order to understand the phenomenon of play in its relation to culture, two issues deserve further study. First is the development of the social representation of play itself. The other issue consists of studying the possible ways cultural influences get into play. This latter query needs a conception of play that articulates the relationship of play and culture that includes an explanation of the position of adults with respect to play, and an explanation of learning in play. This chapter presents an activity theory approach to play, in which play is seen as a particularly formatted activity. This interpretation of play provides us with an analytic description of play (and its possible consequences) in various cultural practices, and with an outline of play development.

Keywords: play, culture, development, activity format, rules, freedom, involvement, learning, adult

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