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The Fractal Self at Play

Marks-Tarlow, T. (2010) “The Fractal Self at Play,” American Journal of Play 3: 32

This article draws on cognitive and developmental psychology to explore the nature of play and its effect on cognitive development and early play in children. The paper offers a lens on the fractal nature of play, and development which is later drawn on by Eberlene to model diagrams for play experience. The article sets out tow stages of development, the first is internal and then the second is external as the child builds an understanding of self through play, and then combines and contrasts this to external forces and contexts to build their understanding of themselves as a subject through play.

The article speculates that the building of internal and external stages then impacts on the development of imagination, and out relationship to internal forces and external contexts.

Useful Quotes

“Play is chaotic, complex, and filled with fractals (Fromberg 2002; VanderVen 1998, 2004). It is chaotic through its unexpected turns and surprises. Play is complex because it is organized and novel. Play is filled with fractals that lurk within its basic grammars and recursive structures and themes” (p. 32)

“orientation locates the embodied self in both physical and social space, in order to chart a life course filled with meaning, one that aligns inner vision and outer expression.” (p. 32)

“While linear science is useful for categorizing nature and collecting facts, play’s exquisite idiosyncrasies often elude its research-based methods. Play’s wholeness fragments under traditional research.” (p. 34)

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