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School of Education
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
In 1966 Foucault bradcast a talk on French radio about ‘heterotopia’. These, he claimed, were institutional spaces which could be identified as being part of society, but at the same time outside contemporary social and political norms in their structure, discourses and iconography. The discourses and enactments of ‘playwork’ frequently occur in shared spaces, in which they come up against powerful conter-discourses, particularly those generated by educational institutions. A (re)turning to data collected in three primary schools and their partner nursery and out of school provision, revealed tensions and opportunities for playwork and playworkers during school playtimes and before and after school activities.
This chapter considers the potential of imagination, discursive storytelling and the fictive in social research with children and young people. It draws on an auto-ethnographic PhD thesis on work in early childhood and subsequent publications relating to playwork. The purpose is to construct methodologies which draw on philosophy and sociology to better articulate the lived experiences of children and practitioners in relation to 21st-century institutions, such as playwork, education and youth services. In doing so it is hoped that matters of social justice might be addressed at a local as well as a more structural level in our work within these specific social and cultural spaces.