Play Performance and Affect in a Mexican Telenovela

  • Gloria Quiñones
Part of the International perspectives on early childhood education and development book series (CHILD, volume 8)


This chapter focuses on the unity of thought and affect in play as suggested by Vygotsky and the cultural-historical approach. A theoretical analysis of this Vygotskian idea is carried out in relation to play performances in the everyday life of Mayra, a 5-year-old girl, who lives in a rural community in the north of Mexico. The empirical material consists of ethnographic video recordings of her play performance enacting, singing and dancing like the heroine of her favourite TV show “Telenovela”. The concept of affective intentions theorized in this chapter shows how children express emotions through repertoires of non-verbal language, gestures and movements. Affect captured visually in a play performance example allows for demonstrating momentitos in time where Mayra’s affective intentions and interests are present. Further, Mayra’s affective intentions are discussed in relation to how she collectively and individually imagines her everyday world and how her identity changes when moving between institutions such as family and kindergarten. Play in this cultural community involves the telenovela, which in turn contains intense affects and emotions for the players such as Mayra. This play performance is valued in the community and becomes important to Mayra’s identity formation and belonging to the rural community.


Play Performance Affective Relationship Dance Move Collective Imagination Affective Engagement 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I would like to thank the community of “El Cañon” and specially Mayra and her family for participating in this study and for the warm welcome. Mayra you are famous like the Divinas! Also, many thanks to Prof. Marilyn Fleer, Dr. Ditte Winther-Lindqvist, Dr. Avis Ridgway and Liang Li for their comments and discussions in relation to this chapter. Quiero agradecer a la comunidad del Cañon y especialmente a Mayra y a su familia por formar parte de este estudio y darme una calurosa bienvenida a sus vidas Mayra eres famosa como las Divinas!


  1. Ashabi, S. G. (2000). Promoting the emotional development of preschoolers. Early Childhood Education Journal, 28(2), 79–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ashabi, S. G. (2007). Play in the preschool classroom: Its socioemotional significance and the teacher’s role in play. Early Childhood Education Journal, 35(7), 199–207.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Denham, S. A. (2006). Socio-emotional competence as support for school readiness: What is it and how do we assess it? Early Education and Development, 17, 57–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Denham, S.A., & Brown, C. (2010). “Play Nice With Others”: Social – Emotional Learning and Success. Early Education and Development, 21(5), 652–680.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Denham, S. A., Wyatt, T., Bassett, H. H., Echeverria, D., & Knox, S. (2009). Assessing socio-emotional development in children from a longitudinal perspective. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 63, 37–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Denham, S. A., Bassett, H. H., Way, E., Mincic, M., Zinsser, K., & Grailing, K. (2011). Preschoolers’ emotion knowledge: Self- regulatory foundations, and predictions for school success. Cognition & Emotion, 1–13.Google Scholar
  7. Ferholt, B. (2009). The development of cognition, emotion, imagination and creativity as made visible through adult-child joint play: Perezhivanie through playworlds. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of California, San Diego.Google Scholar
  8. Ferholt, B. (2010). A synthetic-analytic method for the study of Perezhivanie: Vygotsky’s literary analysis applied to playworlds. In M. C. Connery, V. P. John-Steiner, & A. Marjanovic-Shane (Eds.), Vygotsky and creativity: A cultural–historical approach to play, meaning making and the arts (pp. 163–179). New York: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
  9. Fleer, M. (2008). Using digital video observations and computer technologies in a cultural–historical approach. In M. Hedegaard & M. Fleer (Eds.), Studying children: A cultural–historical approach (pp. 104–117). Berkshire: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Fleer, M. (2010). Early learning and development: Cultural–historical concepts in play. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Fleer, M. (2011). Kindergartens in cognitive times: Imagination as dialectical relation between play and learning. International Journal of Early Childhood, 43, 245–259.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Fleer, M. (2013). Chapter 5: Collective imagining in play. In I. Schousboe & D. Winther-Lindqvist (Eds.), Children’s play and development (pp. 73–87). Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  13. Gaskins, S. (2002, February). The cultural roles of emotions in pretend play. Paper presented at the annual meetings of the Association for the Study of Play, Santa Fe.Google Scholar
  14. Gaskins, S., & Miller, P. J. (2009). The cultural roles of emotions in pretend play. In C. D. Clark (Ed.), Transactions at play (pp. 5–21). Lanham: University Press of America.Google Scholar
  15. Gaskins, S., Haight, W., & Lancy, D. (2007). The cultural construction of play. In A. Göncü & S. Gaskins (Eds.), Play and development: Evolutionary, sociocultural, and functional perspectives (pp. 179–202). New York: Taylor & Francis.Google Scholar
  16. Göncü, A., Jain, J., & Tuermer, U. (2007). Children’s play as cultural interpretation. In A. Göncü & S. Gaskins (Eds.), Play and development: Evolutionary, sociocultural, and functional perspectives (pp. 155–178). New York: Taylor & Francis.Google Scholar
  17. Gonzalez, J. (2003). Understanding Telenovelas as a cultural front: A complex analysis of a complex reality. Media International Australia Incorporating Culture and Policy, 106, 84–93.Google Scholar
  18. Hedegaard, M. (2009). Children’s development from a cultural-historical approach: Children’s activities in everyday local settings as foundation for their development. Mind, Culture and Activity, 16(1), 64–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Her, P., Dunsmore, J. C., & Stelter, R. L. (2012). Parent’s beliefs about emotions and children’s self-construals in African American, European American, and Lumbee American Indian families. Global Studies of Childhood, 2(2), 129–143.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Lindqvist, G. (1995). The aesthetics of play: A didactic study of play and culture in preschools (Uppsala studies in education). Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis.Google Scholar
  21. Mahn, H., & John-Steiner, V. (2007). The gift of confidence: A Vygotskian view of emotions. In W. Gordon (Ed.), Learning for life in the 21st century: Sociocultural perspectives on the future of education (pp. 46–58). Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.Google Scholar
  22. Quiñones, G., & Fleer, M. (2011). “Visual Vivencias”: A cultural-historical tool for understanding the lived experiences of young children’s everyday lives. In E. Johansson & J. White (Eds.), Educational research with our youngest: Voices of infants and toddlers (pp. 107–129). Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Rogoff, B. (2003). The Cultural Nature of Human Development. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Roth, W.-M. (2007). Emotions at work: A contribution to third generation cultural-historical activity theory. Mind, Culture and Activity, 14(1), 40–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Roth, W.-M. (2011). Passibility at the limits of the constructivist metaphor. Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Saarni, C. (2001). Cognition, contexts and goals: Significant components in social–emotional effectiveness. Social Development, 10(1), 125–129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Schmelkes, S. (2000.) La educacion rural en Mexico. Paper session presented at La educacion para el siglo XXI. Un puente en la Cuenca del Pacífico: A memoria de la 22 conferencia del Consorcio del Pacifico, Mexico, D.F. Retrieved from:
  28. Trommsdorff, G., Cole, P. M., & Heikamp, T. (2012). Cultural variations in mothers’ intuitive theories: A preliminary report on interviewing mothers from five nations about their socialization of children’s emotion. Global Studies of Childhood, 2, 158–169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. van Oers, B. (2010). Children’s enculturation through play. In L. Brooker & S. Edwards (Eds.), Engaging play (pp. 195–209). Berkshire: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  30. Vygotsky, L. S. (1966). Play and its role in the mental development of the child. Vosprosy Psikhologii, 12(6), 62–76.Google Scholar
  31. Vygotsky, L. S. (1987a). The collected works of L.S. Vygotsky (Thinking and speech, Vol. 1). New York: Plenum Publishers.Google Scholar
  32. Vygotsky, L. S. (1987b). Pensamiento y lenguaje. Barcelona: Paidos.Google Scholar
  33. Vygotsky, L. S. (1994). The problem of environment. In R. Van Der Veer & J. Valsiner (Eds.), The Vygotsky reader (pp. 338–354). Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.Google Scholar
  34. Vygotsky, L. S. (2001). La Imaginacion y El Arte En La Infancia. Ensayo Psicologico. Mexico City: Ediciones Coyoacan.Google Scholar
  35. Vygotsky, L. S. (2004). Imagination and creativity. Journal of Russian and East European Psychology, 42(1), 7–97.Google Scholar
  36. Winther-Lindqvist, D. A. (2009). Game playing – Negotiating rules and identities. American Journal of Play, 2(1), 60–85.Google Scholar
  37. Winther-Lindqvist, D. A. (2012). Social identities in transition: Contrasting strategies of two boys when changing school. In M. Hedegaard, K. Aronsson, A. Hojholt, & O. S. Ulvik (Eds.), Children, childhood, and everyday life: Children’s perspectives (pp. 179–197). Charlotte: Information Age Publishing.Google Scholar
  38. Yoshikawa, H., McCartney, K., Myers, R., Bub, K., Lugo-Gil, J., Ramos, M., & Knaul, F. (2007). Preschool education in Mexico: Expansion, quality improvement, and curricular reform. Florence: UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre. Retrieved from:

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Early Childhood Education, Faculty of EducationMonash UniversityFrankstonAustralia

Personalised recommendations