Playing with Risk: ACYIG Blog Module

By Scarlett Eisenhauer (UCLA)

“Risky Play” has been finding its way back into the mainstream discussion – some arguing in favor of pushing back against overly safe environments that lack experiential learning opportunities for risk management. As anthropologists (other disciplines and professions as well!) that work with children and youth, we should be quick to raise a red flag: this is a topic ripe for empirical inquiry, not just idealized beliefs. We would like to invite you, dear ACYIG community, to weigh in on the subject in our first blog module with a series of blog posts on the subject of “Risky Play.”

An introductory blog post poses some possible lines of investigation – questions that anthropology and other social sciences are well- suited to answer – and some preliminary thoughts on the subject by Scarlett Eisenhauer and Dori Beeler.  Additionally, Julia Fleming reviews a documentary film “The Land” to weigh in on the issue.

We invite our readers to engage in this module and look forward to a continuing discussion on the subject with both formal and informal responses, comments, thoughts, and data interpretations!

For detailed information on submitting to our blog, please reference the blog submission guidelines document. Please contact Sara Thiam at [email protected], ACYIG Content Coordinator for Blog and Social Media for more information.

Risky Business

By Julia Fleming (Case Western Reserve University)

Imagine an expansive outdoor space dedicated solely to child’s unadulterated play. It is by no means contemporary or state of the art: it is just a portion of hilly, muddy land with a small stream running through it, confined by a tall wooden fence. An abundance of objects intended for the entertainment of children are scattered around. These objects, however, are not the typical objects you would think of when you think of outdoor children’s play. They are unconventional, seemingly random items, ranging from metal shelters, to an old rowboat, to cardboard, to manikins, and much more. This space exists in Wales, and it is called The Land. It is one of the hundreds of “adventure playgrounds” that can be found throughout the United Kingdom and Europe.  A group of filmmakers found interest in this specific adventure playground, decided to make a documentary about it, and aptly named “The Land”. This film offers an intimate perspective on the spontaneous, risky play that is encouraged at the playground.

(Bognar, Reichert, & Davis, 2015)

It also addresses many stimulating issues, such as “What should play be?” and “Is risk necessary for a child’s development?” The film made me reconsider what I previously thought about risk in child’s play. It helped me realize that personally, I think children are very protected, perhaps too protected, when it comes to play, risk, and exploration here in the United States, and that this should change.

Continue reading Risky Business

Risky Play – in or out? A revival of experiential learning

Scarlett Eisenhauer (UCLA) and Dori Beeler (University of Durham)

Risky play is in… again! Or so some headlines would have us believe. A recent article by Ellen Barry (2018) describes “danger” intentionally left on a playground in England to allow children and youth to actively face risk and learn from that experience. The underlying theory being that if children cannot experience risk then they cannot learn to deal with it effectively on their own.

It reminded me of the popular Swedish story “Ronja, the Robbers Daughter” by Astrid Lindgren. As she grows, Ronja has to learn how to live in the forest. She has the following dialogue with her father before leaving her home castle to go learn (roughly translated):

Father: Beware of getting lost in the forest.

Ronja: What do I do, if I get lost in the forest?

Father: Then you look for the correct path.

Ronja: Well, then.

Father: And be careful not to fall into the river.

Ronja: What do I do, if I fall into the river?

Father: You swim.

Ronja: Well, then.

This dialogue continues for a while. Once Ronja is in the forest she scampers off only to actively look for these environmental realities, such as the river, so she can beware of it. The narrative in this story, read and watched in movie form by many children in Europe, reflects the narrative of the risky play “revival” by Barry – that in order to learn to deal with inherent risks in one’s environment, one must confront them, even as a child.

Continue reading Risky Play – in or out? A revival of experiential learning

Reflecting on the separation of families at the border: The Water

by Jajah Wu, University of Chicago Law School

(Originally posted on  June 16, 2018: reposted here with permission from Youth Circulations)

It is difficult to know how to feel about the human rights violations committed by this administration against immigrants. And by that I mean, as an advocate who is, if not seasoned, then weathered, say, I know I can do my best work if I float above the knowledge of what is happening to families and children. “There,” I say, pointing down into the water, “the government forcibly separated 658 children from their parents in two weeks. Look at it.”

658 is a terrible number. It is also academic—that is the nature of numbers. They allow us to float above the water. But say you’d like to get closer to the truth, as I suspect you do, if you are still with me.

Well, imagine reading 658 individual stories of families—broken families, happy families, struggling families. There are birthdays, funerals, accidents, small joys and losses, maybe there are threats from gang members, maybe there aren’t. You, reader, fall in love with the way the baby girl eats beans, smearing them over her face like a culinary Picasso…

…read more on youthcirculations.com

Also see “Care in Contexts of Child Detention” by Lauren Heidbrink, CSU Long Beach for more discussion here.

 

Call for Contributions: Child Indicators Research Special issue on CHILD NEGLECT

Dear colleagues,

[for PDF click with  info click here]

We invite you to participate in our call for manuscripts for a 2019 special issue of the Child Indicators Research journal on child neglect.

This Special Issue offers an opportunity to contribute to an interdisciplinary understanding of conceptualizations, determinants, and consequences of child neglect and, in so doing, to reforming child protection systems globally. We welcome empirical research, literature review, and conceptual submissions with direct implications for measurement/indicators covering any type and dimension of inadequate care and protection of children, regardless of who is responsible, with consequences in all spheres of child development/wellbeing.

Within ecological conceptualizations of neglect, we seek submissions from any country that explore protective factors and/or effective community or institutional interventions and policies for the prevention of neglect and associated consequences for children across different developmental domains. Using scientifically sound qualitative and/or quantitative methods, submissions that use multiple data sources, examine neglect in its larger political and economic context, and incorporate the perspectives of children and families from diverse cultural contexts and caregiving environments are particularly encouraged.

Manuscripts can be submitted until 15th September 2018. All papers will be double-blind peer reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal and will be listed together on the special issue website.

Please share further with qualified colleagues. Author guidelines and submission information can be found athttps://link.springer.com/journal/12187. You will also find a call for papers attached. Specific questions pertaining this Special Issue should be directed to [email protected].

Looking forward to receiving your submissions,

Mónica Ruiz-Casares, McGill University

Carl Lacharité, Université du Québec à Trois Rivières

Florence Martin, Better Care Network

Guest Editors

MEET THE NEW NEOS EDITOR – VICTORIA HOLEC

Victoria Holec is currently working on her PhD in Cultural, Social, and Political Thought in the departments of Anthropology and Sociology at the University of Lethbridge (Canada). Her dissertation titled “Who are the Millennials? Exploring the constructions and performances of ‘Millennial’ as categories of analysis and practice” investigates Millennial identities as both other-constructed and self-performed through discourse and lived experience. Here, she examines the usefulness of the generation as category of analysis, theories of post-identity, and conceptualizations of youth. Her methodologies involve microblog discourse analysis and design studios (cf. Rabinow & Marcus, 2008). Currently, Victoria is developing a course on “Conceptualizing Youth,” which reviews deterministic and constructivist conceptualizations of youth, major theories and methodologies used to study youth, and applies these to current issues and media representations concerning youth ranging from Neuroscience, Psychology, Anthropology, and History to Media and Cultural Studies.

Continue reading MEET THE NEW NEOS EDITOR – VICTORIA HOLEC

Postdoc opportunity on Youth Studies – University of Melbourne

The Melbourne Graduate School of Education has a postdoc opportunity on Youth Studies to work with Life Patterns team at the Youth Research Centre, in the University of Melbourne. I wonder if you could circulate this job opportunity in the ACYIG website. Many thanks. Below the two links to share:

Here is the job opp: http://jobs.unimelb.edu.au/caw/en/job/896745/postdoctoral-research-fellow

Here is some info about Life Patterns Project:https://education.unimelb.edu.au/yrc/projects/current/life_patterns#about

The 3-year postdoc also comes with research support of $50k for conference and research travel, research assistance.

New ACYIG YouTube Channel

Dear ACYIG community,

We are excited to announce that we’ve recently launched a New YouTube Channel.

The channel includes content from our previous channel as well as new content more recently provided by our members.

The purpose of this channel is simply to consolidate all audiovisual material that can be useful for teaching about different topics related to children and youth. For example, we currently have sub-sections that include material on “Children and the Media,” “Children and Race,” and “Children and Gender.”

We invite you to 1) subscribe to our channel and 2) share any relevant materials with us. What are some of the videos that you turn to when teaching about children and youth?  Materials could include videos on: race, gender, sexuality, migration, education, development, cultural psychology, play, consumption, the state, globalization, you name it!

Suggestions can be sent via FacebookTwitter, or E-mail. We look forward to collaborating with you to further the resources available to our ACYIG community!

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