Instead of focussing on the implications of children’s play for individual development, this study explores children’s play participation and their appropriation of cultural resources, as collective cultural productions. In short, we are interested in the communicative competencies involved in the collective processes of social exclusion in girls’ play, and how these processes are part of children’s emerging peer culture and their place in the adult world. Data are drawn from ethnographic research in children’s peer groups in a pre-school setting in Sweden. The approach taken combines ethnography with studies of talk- in-interaction. As demonstrated the girls in foci display complex communicative competencies (rejections of request for access, oppositions, ignorance, justifications, directives). In addition, the girls creatively draw on cultural resources provided by the organistion of the play activity (pretend characters, play-script, etc.) to build social hierarchies, strengthen alignments of power, claim authoritative stances, casting some peer group members into more subordinate positions and excluding others. In so doing, the girls creatively appropriate educational agendas and institutional rules of conduct, creating a locally shared peer culture, through appropriation and resistance, in the midst of play episodes.
2009. Vol. 26, no 2, 9-18 p.