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African Journal for Physical Activity and Health Sciences

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Paradigms of children's play behaviour and the study of games

Cora Burnett

Abstract


Children's play behaviour and the study of games have since the 1800s attracted academic interest and scholarly research from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. This paper provides a theoretical framework explaining and conceptualising play-related phenomena to be utilized for cross-cultural comparisons in terms of description, analyses, classification and practice. The theoretical underpinnings of the different paradigms are linked to the foci of research and practices utilizing the insights. This paper also undertakes an analysis of diverse theoretical paradigms that informed the national research project, and to offer a multi-disciplinary rationale within the post-modernist genre of constructing knowledge and understanding of indigenous games. In this respect it draws on the findings of the National Indigenous Games Research Project of 2001/2002 in which eleven tertiary institutions within the Republic of South Africa participated. Data was collected from 6489 participants through questionnaires triangulated with other qualitative methods within the paradigm of the ethno-scientific knowledge production. The play behaviour, taxonomy and ‘cognitive maps' reflect the construction of indigenous knowledge, socio-cultural meanings and lived experiences of the participants.

Key words: Play, indigenous games, theoretical paradigms, South African children.


(Af. J. Physical, Health Education, Recreation and Dance: 2003 Special Edition: 1-14)



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