Absorbency and utensilency: A spectrum for analysing children’s digital play practices

Thomas Enemark Lundtofte*, Ane Bjerre Odgaard, Helle Marie Skovbjerg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

This article explores 4- to 7-year-old children’s tablet computer (tablet) use, drawing on empirical data from day-care institutions, primary schools and private home settings in Denmark. Data were gathered via video observations in two different studies: (a) a media ethnography on children’s tablet play practices in home settings and (b) a socioculturally informed, design-based study involving children as co-producers in institutional settings. We understand children’s tablet use via practice theory, framing tablets as actor-enacted objects in play practices expressed through play moods in qualitatively distinguishable ways. We suggest a conceptual spectrum (not dichotomy) for understanding how sociomateriality is articulated in children’s tablet play practices, ranging from absorbent to utensilent. Within sociomaterially absorbent practices, the tablet is foregrounded in intense involvement, thus mediating a focused play mood which relies on not being disturbed by outside actors. Within sociomaterially utensilent practices, the tablet is backgrounded as a node or nexus, thus mediating a distributed play mood of involvement with places and agents beyond the tablet. We contribute to previous findings by Marsh framed within the post-humanist approach as we suggest the empirically observed complexity in children’s digital play can be approached by tracing the relationally generated object positions. We add to this by proposing an analytical spectrum ranging from absorbent to utensilent sociomaterial practices that can be employed when analysing children’s digital play.

Original languageEnglish
JournalGlobal Studies of Childhood
Volume9
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)335-347
ISSN2043-6106
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019

Fingerprint

mood
private home
day care
theory-practice
Denmark
ethnography
primary school
producer
video

Keywords

  • digital technology
  • play
  • post-humanism
  • practice theory
  • sociocultural theory
  • sociomateriality
  • tablet computers
  • young children

Cite this

@article{32fc933fa6b3451ea37b6822d100c49f,
title = "Absorbency and utensilency: A spectrum for analysing children’s digital play practices",
abstract = "This article explores 4- to 7-year-old children’s tablet computer (tablet) use, drawing on empirical data from day-care institutions, primary schools and private home settings in Denmark. Data were gathered via video observations in two different studies: (a) a media ethnography on children’s tablet play practices in home settings and (b) a socioculturally informed, design-based study involving children as co-producers in institutional settings. We understand children’s tablet use via practice theory, framing tablets as actor-enacted objects in play practices expressed through play moods in qualitatively distinguishable ways. We suggest a conceptual spectrum (not dichotomy) for understanding how sociomateriality is articulated in children’s tablet play practices, ranging from absorbent to utensilent. Within sociomaterially absorbent practices, the tablet is foregrounded in intense involvement, thus mediating a focused play mood which relies on not being disturbed by outside actors. Within sociomaterially utensilent practices, the tablet is backgrounded as a node or nexus, thus mediating a distributed play mood of involvement with places and agents beyond the tablet. We contribute to previous findings by Marsh framed within the post-humanist approach as we suggest the empirically observed complexity in children’s digital play can be approached by tracing the relationally generated object positions. We add to this by proposing an analytical spectrum ranging from absorbent to utensilent sociomaterial practices that can be employed when analysing children’s digital play.",
keywords = "digital technology, play, post-humanism, practice theory, sociocultural theory, sociomateriality, tablet computers, young children",
author = "Lundtofte, {Thomas Enemark} and Odgaard, {Ane Bjerre} and Skovbjerg, {Helle Marie}",
year = "2019",
month = "12",
doi = "10.1177/2043610619881457",
language = "English",
volume = "9",
pages = "335--347",
journal = "Global Studies of Childhood",
issn = "2043-6106",
publisher = "Symposium Journals",
number = "4",

}

Absorbency and utensilency : A spectrum for analysing children’s digital play practices. / Lundtofte, Thomas Enemark; Odgaard, Ane Bjerre; Skovbjerg, Helle Marie.

In: Global Studies of Childhood, Vol. 9, No. 4, 12.2019, p. 335-347.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Absorbency and utensilency

T2 - A spectrum for analysing children’s digital play practices

AU - Lundtofte, Thomas Enemark

AU - Odgaard, Ane Bjerre

AU - Skovbjerg, Helle Marie

PY - 2019/12

Y1 - 2019/12

N2 - This article explores 4- to 7-year-old children’s tablet computer (tablet) use, drawing on empirical data from day-care institutions, primary schools and private home settings in Denmark. Data were gathered via video observations in two different studies: (a) a media ethnography on children’s tablet play practices in home settings and (b) a socioculturally informed, design-based study involving children as co-producers in institutional settings. We understand children’s tablet use via practice theory, framing tablets as actor-enacted objects in play practices expressed through play moods in qualitatively distinguishable ways. We suggest a conceptual spectrum (not dichotomy) for understanding how sociomateriality is articulated in children’s tablet play practices, ranging from absorbent to utensilent. Within sociomaterially absorbent practices, the tablet is foregrounded in intense involvement, thus mediating a focused play mood which relies on not being disturbed by outside actors. Within sociomaterially utensilent practices, the tablet is backgrounded as a node or nexus, thus mediating a distributed play mood of involvement with places and agents beyond the tablet. We contribute to previous findings by Marsh framed within the post-humanist approach as we suggest the empirically observed complexity in children’s digital play can be approached by tracing the relationally generated object positions. We add to this by proposing an analytical spectrum ranging from absorbent to utensilent sociomaterial practices that can be employed when analysing children’s digital play.

AB - This article explores 4- to 7-year-old children’s tablet computer (tablet) use, drawing on empirical data from day-care institutions, primary schools and private home settings in Denmark. Data were gathered via video observations in two different studies: (a) a media ethnography on children’s tablet play practices in home settings and (b) a socioculturally informed, design-based study involving children as co-producers in institutional settings. We understand children’s tablet use via practice theory, framing tablets as actor-enacted objects in play practices expressed through play moods in qualitatively distinguishable ways. We suggest a conceptual spectrum (not dichotomy) for understanding how sociomateriality is articulated in children’s tablet play practices, ranging from absorbent to utensilent. Within sociomaterially absorbent practices, the tablet is foregrounded in intense involvement, thus mediating a focused play mood which relies on not being disturbed by outside actors. Within sociomaterially utensilent practices, the tablet is backgrounded as a node or nexus, thus mediating a distributed play mood of involvement with places and agents beyond the tablet. We contribute to previous findings by Marsh framed within the post-humanist approach as we suggest the empirically observed complexity in children’s digital play can be approached by tracing the relationally generated object positions. We add to this by proposing an analytical spectrum ranging from absorbent to utensilent sociomaterial practices that can be employed when analysing children’s digital play.

KW - digital technology

KW - play

KW - post-humanism

KW - practice theory

KW - sociocultural theory

KW - sociomateriality

KW - tablet computers

KW - young children

U2 - 10.1177/2043610619881457

DO - 10.1177/2043610619881457

M3 - Journal article

AN - SCOPUS:85077021213

VL - 9

SP - 335

EP - 347

JO - Global Studies of Childhood

JF - Global Studies of Childhood

SN - 2043-6106

IS - 4

ER -