Play for Life: Play Theory and Play as Emotional Survival

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The Strong, 2017 - Play - 281 pages
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"Sutton-Smith embraced play more fully than any other contemporary thinker and changed the way generations will imagine the topic. A profoundly important theorist of play, he was also a diligent observer of how children actually play, and he collected their songs, stories, rhymes, jokes, and game rules from across the world. Most of all, he was a strong-minded advocate for allowing children to play freely, arguing that they have a right to interact on their own terms away from controlling impulses of adults. By training an educational psychologist, by inclination a folklorist, and by any reckoning a great scholar, Sutton-Smith in the last moments of his career speaks his mind on the true nature and real importance of this many-faceted phenomenon. He argues that play is more than a game for the young or a pastime for adults or a recreation for sports enthusiasts. Instead, it allows us to display our most basic existential challenges in culturally coherent and socially manageable forms. Indeed, it is the ambition of all players, claims Sutton-Smith, to transform the world, to rename it on terms that allow them--and all of use who join them--to thrive."--Jacket.

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About the author (2017)

Brian Sutton-Smith was born in Wellington, New Zealand on July 15, 1924. He studied education at Wellington Teachers College. He received a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in educational psychology from Victoria University of Wellington. In the late 1940s, he taught at a primary school in a Wellington suburb. In 1952, he traveled to the United States as a Fulbright scholar. He studied at the University of California, Berkeley, and worked with the psychologists Bruno Bettelheim and Fritz Redl. He received a doctorate in educational psychology from the University of New Zealand in 1954. In 1956, Sutton-Smith moved permanently to the United States. He taught at several universities including Bowling Green State University in Ohio, Columbia University Teachers College, and the University of Pennsylvania. He was a developmental psychologist who was one of the first people to bring the study of play into the academic arena and was considered the field's foremost scholar. His books included Child's Play written with R. E. Herron, The Study of Games written with Elliott M. Avedon, How to Play with Your Children (and When Not To), Toys as Culture, and The Ambiguity of Play. He also wrote three novels for young people. He helped found the Association for the Study of Play and received lifetime achievement awards from that organization and from the American Folklore Society. He died from complications of Alzheimer's disease on March 7, 2015 at the age of 90.

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