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A Child's Play Life: An Ethnographic Study


reviewed by Frances O'Connell Rust — 1991

coverTitle: A Child's Play Life: An Ethnographic Study
Author(s): Diana Kelly-Byrne
Publisher: Teachers College Press, New York
ISBN: 0807729418, Pages: , Year: 1989
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Reading this study brings up an uncomfortable question: Should we do participant observation with children if it means that the children pay an emotional price? In this case, I think not. What was learned from this study, while vivid and convincing, will not come as news to anyone who has spent time working closely with children. A Child’s Play Life is an account and analysis of the play of a seven-year-old child with an adult. Diana Kelly-Byrne focuses the lens of participant observation so closely that one feels like a voyeur. I suppose this feeling has to do with the intimacy of the play Kelly-Byrne describes; it also has to do with that quality of openness, thus vulnerability, which children possess and which Helen, the child in this study, displays. Part of me wanted to read on and soak up every detail for its implications for our work with children and... (preview truncated at 150 words.)


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 92 Number 4, 1991, p. 663-666
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 360, Date Accessed: 12/19/2014 4:21:39 AM

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  • Frances Rust
    Hofstra University

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