FORUM FOR ANTHROPOLOGY AND CULTURE

ANTROPOLOGICHESKIJ FORUM
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Antropologicheskij forum, 2020, no. 45

 

“LET’S PRETEND YOU TOOK FREDDY’S MASK OFF”: COMMUNICATIVE STRATEGIES AND AGENCY REDISTRIBUTION IN DIGITALLY-INFORMED CHILDREN’S PRETEND PLAY

Angelina Kozlovskaya

EuropeanUniversity at St Petersburg
6/1 А Gagarinskaya Str., St Petersburg, Russia
ange.zhuko.yur()gmail.com

Abstract: The paper addresses the issue of children’s play within a contemporary digital environment. Building on data collected through participant observation at an afterschool club for primary-school children, the article analyzes digitally-informed pretend play in which the plot and the rule-structure of the “Five Nights at Freddy’s” game have been employed as a resource. Andrew Burn’s scheme for the analysis of computer games’ adaptation to the playground and the sociolinguistic classifications of children’s speech patterns used in a pretend play serve as a conceptual framework for this study. An examination of the way children deploy media-references in their play provides evidence for children’s creative meaning-making and their ability to collectively rethink and adjust media-texts to the actual playground context, as well as to their own play goals and needs—while also relying on cultural resources of different kinds. More importantly, the structural borrowing from a digital game and its adaptation to a pretend play gives participants more opportunities to perform agentive acts than they have otherwise; both compared to the original digital game and “wholly original” pretend play. Agency is realized by using specific verbal structures (“you utterances”). These results contradict the adults’ common concerns about children being passive and not imaginative in the process of consuming digital games.

Keywords: digital play, pretend play, agency, media references, communicative strategies.

To cite: Kozlovskaya A., ‘“Davay ty snyal masku Freddi”: kommunikativnye strategii i pereraspredelenie agentnosti v detskoy voobrazhaemoy igre s tsifrovym mediaistochnikom’ [“Let’s Pretend You Took Freddy’s Mask Off”: Communicative Strategies and Agency Redistribution in Digitally-informed Children’s Pretend Play], Antropologicheskij forum, 2020, no. 45, pp. 116–156.

doi: 10.31250/1815-8870-2020-16-45-116-156

URL: http://anthropologie.kunstkamera.ru/files/pdf/045/kozlovskaya.pdf