|Author(s)||Marilyn R. Whalen|
|Title||Working toward play: complexity in children's fantasy activities|
|Tag(s)||Children, play, socialization|
|Journal||Language in Society|
Children's play activities are widely perceived as developing from primitive to increasingly complex forms of social organization, as children mature and acquire interactional competency. Research following this traditional, developmentally oriented approach postulates that sports and games with rules are the most advanced and complex form of play activity; activities involving fantasy and pretend-play are viewed in comparison as considerably less complex. This article argues that fantasy play encounters exhibit complex features in their own right, and that long-held distinctions between higher-order games and fantasy play are conceptually overdrawn. The argument is grounded in a conversation analytic study of the play activities of a cross-sex, mixed-age neighborhood play group. This analysis focuses on the endogenous social organization of a fantasy play encounter.