Presentation on theme: "Complex Agency: Crossing the borders between reality and pretence Research Study CARMEL BRENNAN PhD thesis, Dublin Institute of Technology."— Presentation transcript:
Complex Agency: Crossing the borders between reality and pretence Research Study CARMEL BRENNAN email@example.com PhD thesis, Dublin Institute of Technology Funded by the CECDE
Theoretical Context Agency as the motivation and capacity for initiating and following through with action Agency in Piagetian sense – as the property of the individual person - the constituents of agency as action, means and outcome (Chapman and Skinner 1989) Sociocultural theory brings a shift - Agency is a property of social activity -Agency is responsive and reciprocal and therefore a collective dynamic - towards goals/ relationships - Significance of intersubjectivity and emotional attunement in agency
Aim -To demonstrate (1) the collective nature of agency, (2) how children’s agency in play is mediated and framed by real life relationships and goals (3) the skills involved -Paper draws on 4 sociodramatic play episodes collected in a preschool playgroup over a year – Analysis is interpretive based on long-term observation- episodes provide examples of findings of Researcher -Children 2.5 – 4.9 years
Agency as Responsive Collective, Positioned Video – Transforming Spencer 2 pieces of video taken 4 months apart Background –Craig and Spencer Moving into the gender differentiation discourse Observe the emotional quality of transactions
Analysis ‘..we speak (act) into a context not of our own making’ Shotter 1993 Reconstructing a discourse from the wider community towards bonding among peers- the boys want to differentiate themselves from the girls – Spencer is now an authority The emotional quality of agency Competent agency – finding ways to manage relationships and goals – Craig finds a way around the rules
Reality or Pretence? Background –Terri, Rachel and Emma – relationships – 30 min. episode Terri introduces the play idea – Why? Consider the possibility that she is introducing conflict towards reorganising their relationships Is this real or pretend? Emma storms off / Terri steps out of frame to plead with R.
Analysis ‘As they argued, teased and embraced each other so the bonds which tied them threatened constantly to dissolve' ( James 1996) Why does Terri introduce the conflict theme? Maybe pre-planned-maybe following emotions- a relationship between her pretend agency and real life goals Agency is coordinated by theme of conflict and rules of roles in play and real life relationship concerns Conflict is often used to reorganise social structure –results in raised consciousness
Complex and Competent agency Video – Craig, Jean and Rachel - to further demonstrate the competence and politics of children’s agency Background – group dynamics/relationships The intersubjective moment- you know that I know that you know Cognitive and emotional competence
Analysis The skills of agency – sharing emotion –reading social/ emotional cues- ability to select appropriate initiatives-risk taking -clearly presenting initiatives- creating space for response- – good play ideas- Ethnographic research shows that the children who emerge as popular, assertive leaders are not necessarily those who are cooperative, helpful and obedient (Goodwin 2002) …but the skilful ones who can read and respond to the nuances/complexity of interactions Agentivley constructing intersubjectivity in oppositionAgentively resisting being positioned as outsiderAgentivley constructing intersubjectivity in oppositionAgentively resisting being positioned as outsider
Conclusion/ Implications Sociocultural theory brings focus to agency and: 1.The individual-in-social activity as unit of analysis –mediated by culture Highlights the intersubjective/ emotional quality The centrality of skills of connection in engaging on the intermental plane 2.Centralises play as context / medium for agency Play offers opportunity for exercising complex agency 3.Adult role in teaching agency skills in interaction moments guiding/ reflecting on agency and meaning
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