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Youth Sport, Physical Activity and Play by Don Vinson, Andrew Parker

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3    Utopian visions of childhood and play in English social policy

Stuart Lester and Wendy Russell

Introduction

This chapter explores the relationship between understandings of the nature and benefits of children's play within English social policy and within research into children's everyday expressions of playing in largely adult-produced and -regulated spaces. We suggest that policy constructs ‘play’ as an object that is defined, bounded and classified. This construction is then applied in a causal manner to the design of play provision to produce spaces that are also defined, bounded and purposeful. This ordering (placing) of children's play, and its associated productions of space, represents a narrow and instrumental value based upon a ...

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