Imaginative play: Deficit or difference?

Helen B. Schwartzman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter offers an assessment of the studies that suggests that many are premised on a "deficit hypothesis" similar to that outlined by M. Cole and J. Bruner and W. Labov in their critiques of deficit interpretations of the language and culture of certain ethnic and social class groups in the United States. It examines the relationships between children's imaginative play and culture and social class variables have appeared. The anthropological literature has also been used to support the view that children from certain traditional cultures may be deficient in imaginative play abilities. The chapter discusses ethnographic literature n order to question some of the assumptions that are currently being made about non-Western children's play. It examines a related series of assumptions about imaginative play. M. Mead reports that Manus children spend most of their time in energetic rough-and-tumble play activities, and very little time is spent in imaginative play behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationChild's Play
Subtitle of host publicationDevelopmental and Applied
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781351582018
ISBN (Print)9781138297661
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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