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The Power of Place in Play

A Bourdieusian Analysis of Auckland Children's Seasonal Play Practices

Christina R. Ergler

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Christina R. Ergler, The Power of Place in Play (2020), transcript Verlag, Bielefeld, ISBN: 9783839436714

Getrackt seit 05/2018


Beschreibung / Abstract

»There's nothing really fun about the park in winter!« - Christina Ergler is the first one to explore why 'play' resonates differently across urban localities and seasons. She draws on Bourdieu's theory of practice and Gibson's affordance theory to show that determinants of seasonal outdoor play transcend modifiable barriers such as traffic and unsuitable play spaces as well as the inevitable issue of inclement weather. In contrast, seasonal play determinants are grounded in locally constituted beliefs about what is seasonally 'appropriate' children's activity. To foster a healthier and more sustainable life for children, outdoor play needs to become convenient all-year-round in all locations.


Christina R. Ergler is a lecturer in Social Geography at The University of Otago, New Zealand. Her research interests are at the intersection of geography, sociology and public health and centre on interdisciplinary approaches to health and wellbeing, socio-spatial health inequalities, experiential dimension of health and wellbeing, and participatory research methods.


  • Cover
  • Table of contents
  • Abstract
  • Keywords
  • Acknowledgements
  • Prologue
  • 1. ‘Playing around’ with children’s outdoor play
  • Embeddings: the URBAN study
  • Aim
  • Research questions
  • Placing ‘obesogenic landscapes’
  • Moving beyond passive participation with children’s geographies
  • Defining ‘play’ and ‘physical activity’: two sides of the same coin?
  • Conceptualising ‘environmental literacy’
  • An attempt to define neighbourhood
  • Thesis overview
  • 2. ‘Obesogenic landscapes’ in children’s geographies: mapping key debates and perspectives
  • Urban children’s outdoor play insights from ‘obesogenic landscapes’
  • Shaping ‘obesogenic landscapes’: experiencing seasonality and weather conditions
  • Conclusion
  • 3. A conceptual framework for understanding children’s seasonal outdoor play: Bourdieu and affordances
  • Bourdieu’s key concepts: field, capital and habitus
  • A Bourdieusian lens on space and place
  • Complementing the Bourdieusian lens with ‘affordances’
  • Conclusion
  • 4. ‘Methodological principles’: a Bourdieusian approach to unpack outdoor play
  • Applying Bourdieu’s ‘methodological principles’: transcending the ‘existing’ paradigm divide
  • Bourdieu, mixed-method research and children
  • Conclusion
  • 5. The research practice: procedural principles
  • Recruiting families
  • Placing families
  • The research practice: introducing the methods
  • The analysis stage
  • Conclusion
  • 6. Locating Auckland Central and Beach Haven
  • Auckland’s climate and weather
  • ‘A localisation’ of Auckland
  • Conclusion
  • 7. The social history of play: Auckland a city of managed childhood?
  • Shanghais and tea parties: paradoxes of the (un)managed childhood of the early days
  • Meaningful pastime: supervising children’s free time in the Beginning of modernity and war times
  • Play and well-being in the post-war period: the suburban nuclear family
  • Children’s play and the feminist movement
  • Pluralism or individualisation of play? Neoliberal tolls on children’s play
  • Conclusion
  • 8. The inhabitation of Auckland Central and Beach Haven: a parental pursuit
  • Structuring the appropriation of Auckland Central and Beach Haven
  • Conclusion
  • 9. ‘Profits of localisation’ for outdoor play in Auckland Central and Beach Haven
  • Children’s map-able roaming patterns
  • Families’ views of ‘desirable agents and goods’ and their promising ‘symbolic capital’
  • Conclusion
  • 10. Spaces of points of view: the logics of outdoor play in summer and winter
  • Outdoor play and the ‘practical logics’ in actualising affordances
  • Habitus and seasonal outdoor play
  • Conclusion
  • 11. Struggles in the ‘field of play’: five insights into understanding and explaining ‘obesogenic landscapes’
  • Making the most of Beach Haven: stories of an outdoor tomboy
  • Limits in Beach Haven? Curtailing the outdoor habitus
  • Making the most of the central city: stories of a sports ‘enthusiast’
  • Adjusting a passion for active play to the central city: stories of a gamer
  • Coming out of hibernation: the suburban paradox
  • Conclusion
  • 12. Closing, refurbishing and re-opening the ‘play grounds’ of ‘obesogenic landscapes’
  • Closing and refurbishing the thesis’ ‘play grounds’ of ‘obesogenic landscapes’
  • Future playgrounds for researching ‘obesogenic landscapes’
  • Concluding remarks
  • References

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