Play, disputes and social order : Everyday life in two Swedish after-school centers

Detta är en avhandling från Linköping : Linköpings universitet

Sammanfattning: This thesis presents a comparative study of everyday life in two Swedish after-school centers (the Bumblebee and the Panda). It is based on 18 months of fieldwork at the two centers and in their surrounding neighborhood. The ethnographic focus is on the micro-analysis of everyday speech and children's conduct in their peer cultures and their interaction with the center's staff. This work draws on theoretical traditions in anthropology (ethnography of speaking and language socialization) and sociology (ethnomethodology and micro-sociology), in demonstrating that language, conduct and culture are interrelated.The primary concern of this study is how the participants at the two centers organize their lives, creating and maintaining particulair cultural, social and linguistic orders. Situated activities such as play, disputes, teasing, secrets and control events are interpreted as they convey how talk and actions are organized and organize the social order at the respective center; reflecting the participants' notions of self, cultural values and ideas, and patterns of socialization in Swedish culture.The examination of social practices at the respective center reveals different ways of controlling children ('order through talk' and 'talk about order), but also different interactional patterns among the children at the respective centers. Disputes is the predominant activity among the children at the Panda whereas the children at the Bumblebee are more often involved in teasing and secrets. In this way, two different types of social organizations develop at. the two centers. From this, the interdependence between children's ways of acting and the staffs way of dealing with the children are discussed.Although control events are differently displayed at the two centers, they also reveal homogeneous cultural patterns about how authority is handled. At both centers authority is problematic, and is handled. through indirectness and alliances. Alliances are shown to play a central role in children's peer culture as well. An examination of the peer culture shows how the creation of social identities and alliances is linked to the children's involvement in play activities {disputes, teasing and secrets). The analysis of the peer activities illuminates children's interactional order, which differentiates children from adults. The children's peer culture is related to the broader socio-cultural context, as well, including child-rearing practices, child care ideology, and Swedish culture, in order tounderstand how these permeate the children's everyday lives.

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