"Well, now I'm upset": Moral and social orders in the playground

Theobald, Maryanne Agnes & Danby, Susan J. (2016) "Well, now I'm upset": Moral and social orders in the playground. In Cromdal, Jacob & Tholander, Michael (Eds.) Morality in Practice Exploring Childhood, Parenthood and Schooling in Everyday Life. Equinox Publishing Ltd, London. (In Press)

[img] Accepted Version (PDF 102kB)
Administrators only | Request a copy from author

View at publisher


There is much still to learn about how young children’s membership with peers shapes their constructions of moral and social obligations within everyday activities in the school playground. This paper investigates how a small group of girls, aged four to six years, account for their everyday social interactions in the playground. They were video-recorded as they participated in a pretend game of school. Several days later, a video-recorded excerpt of the interaction was shown to them and invited to comment on what was happening in the video. This conversation was audio-recorded. Drawing on a conversation analysis approach, this chapter shows that, despite their discontent and complaining about playing the game of school, the girls’ actions showed their continued orientation to the particular codes of the game, of ‘no going away’ and ‘no telling’. By making relevant these codes, jointly constructed by the girls during the interview, they managed each other’s continued participation within two arenas of action: the pretend, as a player in a pretend game of school; and the real, as a classroom member of a peer group. Through inferences to explicit and implicit codes of conduct, moral obligations were invoked as the girls attempted to socially exclude or build alliances with others, and enforce their own social position. As well, a shared history that the girls re-constructed has moral implications for present and future relationships. The girls oriented to the history as an interactional resource for accounting for their actions in the pretend game. This paper uncovers how children both participate in, and shape, their everyday social worlds through talk and interaction and the consequences a taken-for-granted activity such as playing school has for their moral and social positions in the peer group.

Impact and interest:

Search Google Scholar™

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

ID Code: 26868
Item Type: Book Chapter
Additional URLs:
Keywords: moral order, social interaction, young children, conversation analysis, video-stimulated recall, early childhood, accounts, early childhood education
ISBN: 9781845539290
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Current > Schools > School of Early Childhood & Inclusive Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2016 Equinox Publishing Ltd
Deposited On: 25 Aug 2009 23:45
Last Modified: 14 Jan 2016 15:12

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page