Jackie Marsh

Since the mid-20th century, with the introduction of television and subsequent technological developments, children’s folklore has been increasingly entwined within the intertextual web of children’s ‘mediascapes’. Studies of children’s folklore, defined as the cultural practices of children that are transmitted and valued primarily among themselves, have been conducted over the course of two centuries in a number of countries across the world. The work of Dorothy Howard in the US, Brian Sutton-Smith in New Zealand and Iona and Peter Opie in the UK has led to the documentation of thousands of games, songs, rhymes and other elements of childlore, which arose from direct engagement with children in playgrounds and streets. An important research question to be addressed, therefore, is how far the developments of the new media age have impacted upon children’s play, given the extent to which this topic is frequently subject to media moral panics. In this presentation, I will analyze the relation between media, digital technologies and play over the past 60 years in England, highlighting both the continuities and discontinuities over time. I will argue that there are important shifts we need to acknowledge, shifts which relate to matters of ontology and social identities and which suggest that future developments in this area will challenge further the binaries frequently presented between childhood/ adulthood, online/ offline, public/ private and the local/ global.

Jackie Marsh is a Professor of Education at the University of Sheffield, UK. Her research focuses on the role and nature of popular culture, media and new technologies in young children’s literacy development. She has conducted projects that have explored children’s access to new technologies and their emergent digital literacy skills, knowledge and understanding. She has also undertaken projects in early years settings and primary schools focused on the development of appropriate curriculum and pedagogy for the digital age. Jackie is a co-editor of the Journal of Early Childhood Literacy.

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