Recognizing children's culture, especially children's play and toy culture, as an integral part of the heritage of humanity

I am looking for anthropologists who want to discuss the opportunity and possibility of promoting the recognition of children's culture, especially children's play and toy culture, as an integral part of the heritage of humanity.

While sometimes suffering under poverty, sickness and oppression children are at the same time active participants in creating the society and culture in which they grow up. Therefore, children's culture should be rightly recognized as an integral part of the tangible and intangible heritage of humanity.

As far as I could find out, the UNESCO program for safeguarding the tangible and intangible Heritage of Humanity (http://portal.unesco.org/culture) does not contain any project related to children's culture. Under the section: Intangible Heritage of Humanity: 90 representative elements (http://www.unesco.org/culture/ich/index.php?pg=00011) I found nothing on children’s cultures or play and toy cultures and only one link to children: the Kankurang, Manding Initiatory Rite, Gambia - Senegal. In this project only the role of adults is mentioned.

Jean-Pierre Rossie
sociocultural anthropologist
www.sanatoyplay.org

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Jean-Pierre,

I am glad you raised this issue. I was reading the heated discussion of 'openness' in another forum and it reminded me of Levi-Strauss' commentary in which he asks why we have a strong tendency to think of other cultures are 'childlike'; his answer is that the only analogy for a structure that we cannot understand is the open play of children. The openness and play of the child is the openness of a mind and body that is attempting to build a comprehensible world. I have to say that in my teaching I tend to use play, and chldren's play in particular, in a rather instrumental way to introduce the idea that what we call 'society' and 'culture' are formalisations or reifications of processes of learning. I hope that these comments are not too obscure and don't distract from the important applied aspects you have in mind.
Hi Huon,
Thanks for your support and for the reference to Claude Levi-Strauss' commentary that I didn't know. And I surely am not distracted by your comment.

Maybe you are interested in the Facebook group "Toys created by Children" I started about two months ago. See:
http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/group.php?gid=63858074562&re...
Jean-Pierre, You mentioned some photos of children's toys made out of rubbish. Why not attach some here as a springboard for discussion?
Hi Huon,

Thanks for the suggestion and I shall do so soon. I shall also add some photos of toys made by Moroccan children but with natural material or with a combination of natural and waste material.

Huon Wardle said:
Jean-Pierre, You mentioned some photos of children's toys made out of rubbish. Why not attach some here as a springboard for discussion?
Jean-Pierre,

Are you aware of the work of John Milton "Jack" Roberts? Children's games, riddles, and other forms of expressive culture were among the topics covered during his decades of research combining ethnography with use of the Human Relations Area Files (HRAF).
Attachments:
Hi John,

Thank you so much for mentioning to me the work of J.M.Roberts. Although I know Brian Sutton-Smith I didn't come accross the publications of J.M. Roberts. I could download the pdf file and I think it will be useful for my research.

Jean-Pierre.

John McCreery said:
Jean-Pierre,

Are you aware of the work of John Milton "Jack" Roberts? Children's games, riddles, and other forms of expressive culture were among the topics covered during his decades of research combining ethnography with use of the Human Relations Area Files (HRAF).
Hello Jean-Pierre, My name is Maria Krom. I did my first research project in Portugal (where I am currently based and doing my PhD in Anthropology) between 1998 - 2001 on traditional toys made from waste products and natural materials in the rural south (Alentejo). Together with my co-workers at the local development organization we organized two small, local exhibitions on the subject and I wrote a small booklet (unfortunately only in Portuguese). We also organized a workshop on the construction of these toys for local female seasonal labourers. One of my observations in the booklet was about the relevance of Levi-Strauss' concept of 'bricolage' and the production method of the 'bricoleur' in relation to the way these toys were produced.
Dear Maria,

Glad you contacted me through this interesting online source. Your work on traditional toys made from waste products and natural material in the rural south (Alentejo) is very important for me and this for several reasons.
- It shows that even in Europe children sometimes make toys themselves as is done for example in rural areas in Morocco.
- If interested you could join the group on facebook I created in June and which is called “Toys created by Children” and you could put a short article or photos with a comment on that group. If you want to be a member of that group I shall send you an invitation to join. Up to know there is only info I put on this Facebook group and a mention to the website of an Italian toy maker doing workshops with children and adults in London. The only reason I made this group is for other scholars and practitioners to join in and to serve as a concrete example that children’s play and toy culture is worth to be recognized as part of the heritage of humanity.
- Since a year I now and then come to Portugal to be in Braga. There I am in close contact with Luisa Magelhaes who is a member of the facebook group. I shall be in Braga from 1 October till 14 October to participate in a congress on communication and media (23-25 September). I shall give a seminar in the course of philosopical anthropology about my research at the Faculty of Philosophy of the Catholic University of Portugal in Braga on 28 October and participate in the discussions of the research group on migration at the same faculty on 29 September.

Who knows if it is possible to meet you during my stay at Braga. If not it is maybe possible that you send me the small booklet on traditional toys made from waste products and natural materials in the rural south (Alentejo). No problem that it is only in Portuguese as I manage to understand Portuguese with the French and Spanish I master. To keep the postal costs low you could send it to Luísa Magalhães Gouveia, Rua de S. José, 122, 2Dto 4710-436 BRAGA. My personal postal address is Jean-Pierre Rossie, R. Warnefordstraat 63, 9040 Gent, Belgium.

Please send me your email address so that I can send you some documents, e.g. on Moroccan children’s play and toys in relation to rituals and festivities as this seems to be close to your Ph.D. topic.

My email address is sanatoyplay@gmail.com

All the best, Jean-Pierre.


Maria Johanna Christina Krom said:
Hello Jean-Pierre, My name is Maria Krom. I did my first research project in Portugal (where I am currently based and doing my PhD in Anthropology) between 1998 - 2001 on traditional toys made from waste products and natural materials in the rural south (Alentejo). Together with my co-workers at the local development organization we organized two small, local exhibitions on the subject and I wrote a small booklet (unfortunately only in Portuguese). We also organized a workshop on the construction of these toys for local female seasonal labourers. One of my observations in the booklet was about the relevance of Levi-Strauss' concept of 'bricolage' and the production method of the 'bricoleur' in relation to the way these toys were produced.

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