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Title:Animation and its structural dimensions: A phenomenological study of an essence of play
Author(s):Holmes, Peggy Louise
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Chick, Garry
Department / Program:Recreation, Sport and Tourism
Discipline:Recreation, Sport and Tourism
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Psychology, General
Abstract:A key concern in the field of leisure studies is whether there is an essential element (or elements) of the play experience. The most successful attempt to date that addresses this concern is the flow theory of Csikszentmihalyi (1975; 1987). His data is based on interviews with adults and reveals a focused experience with characteristic elements. However, there continues to be a lack of understanding of the essential structures of play, and of how they occur for children. Studies on play have examined the effect play has on such areas as cognitive development, physical development, social skill development, social communication, object manipulation and creativity (Smith, 1982). This singularly focused research has been useful, yet has been unable to capture the complexity and interwovenness of what it is like to be-in-the-world-of-play. In addition, it lacks the perspective of the subject who is in the world of play.
Following these interests, this inquiry was initially guided by two questions: (1) What is the essence of play? and (2) How is that essence experienced in the daily life world? In the course of inquiry, these questions were further elucidated, becoming: what is animation? (argued to be an essence of play); how is it experienced? and what are its related structural dimensions? These questions were pursued with three year old children and nine year old children.
The theoretical development and support in this dissertation is drawn from the works of Csikszentmihalyi (1975; 1987); Denzin (1984); Walsh (1969); Merleau-Ponty (1962) and Bateson (1972). The method of inquiry that was used is the social phenomenological method which situates the subject as the basis for understanding. Participant observation and unstructured interviews were used. Findings were continually evaluated against the theoretical framework.
This study focused on an initial development and clarification of the concept of animation in the daily life world of three year old children and nine year old children. The experience of animation has four related dimensions, emotion, authenticity, possibility, and context. A processual representation of play was revealed where animation begins play and is then transformed through emotion, authenticity, possibility and context. Play ends when the dimension of possibility is exhausted. This process was different for the two age groups.
In the experience of three year old children it became clear that the dimensions of emotion and authenticity predominate, whereas the dimensions of possibility and context permeate the experience of the nine year old children. Full animation, involving emotion, authenticity and possibility, occurs for the three year old children often in spite of context. For the nine year old children, full animation appeared most clearly in boys' sports experiences.
Issue Date:1990
Rights Information:Copyright 1990 Holmes, Peggy Louise
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9114267
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9114267

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