This chapter introduces potent evidence for the proposition espoused in this work, namely, that the spontaneous imaginary constructions of young children have a societal framework. Study 1 examines social pretend play as a typical imaginary activity of young children all over the world. It is what they often and spontaneously do when they get together on their own. Note some of the general characteristics of this activity. First, it is a public social interaction that can be seen and heard. Second, it takes place among peers of roughly equal status; this symmetrical peer relation is something different from the dependent relation prevailing at home and encourages a new form of spontaneity. Third, from the observer’s viewpoint, two layers of reality-in-the-making can readily be monitored: the social interactions in themselves (which are obviously “real”) versus the coconstructed product of these interactions, the content of the play itself, which the adult culture considers “pretend.” The pretend-real distinction will be discussed at great length in this and the following chapter.
KeywordsPretend Play Symbolic Play Societal Feature Discourse Unit Play Sequence
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