Playing with popular culture: an ethnography of children's sociodramatic play in the classroom
Simmons, CA in press, 'Playing with popular culture: an ethnography of children's sociodramatic play in the classroom', Ethnography and Education.
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This article explores how ethnography allows for an understanding of the way children are empowered through the use of popular culture during sociodramatic play. The study discussed was conducted in an inner-city Primary school in regional New South Wales, Australia. The participants were a composite fifth-to-sixth grade class, and the research focused on dramaturgical sessions. The methods were diverse, employing an ethnographic framework, including participant observations, performance and focus groups. The findings reveal that children have a shared knowledge of popular culture that is used during drama to create and perpetuate their own subversive subculture. This process is carried out through children's bricolage of popular texts and use of carnival-like humour. Overall, the article enriches understandings of how children collectively create cultures with their peers through the use of popular culture during improvised drama sessions in the classroom. The article further discusses the associated implications of these cultural processes for pedagogy.