Kevin Ryan
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The playground as biosocial technology
in Refiguring childhood
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Chapter 3 commences the task of staging encounters with biosocial power in the form of social practices. The chapter begins by reviewing Norbert Elias’s The Civilising Process, as well as more recent Eliasian perspectives on a ‘de-civilising’ process, using this literature as an interpretative lens in commencing a genealogy of playgrounds. Examined as a biosocial technology, the playground is shown to originate as a pedagogical practice that (to borrow from governmentality theory) attempted to act upon the actions of children through a blend of carefully calibrated techniques, bounded space and purpose-built equipment, the strategic objective of which was to prefigure the future. The empirical focus of the chapter is early nineteenth century Britain and Progressive Era America.

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Refiguring childhood

Encounters with biosocial power


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