The lore and law of the playground

2015-06-19T08:08:58Z (GMT) by Carly Butler Amanda Bateman
The pioneering work of the Opies has been an inspiration to many people interested in children’s play and games, academics and non-academics alike. Their books provide insightful details of how children interact and co-produce games through their rule-making during everyday play, providing an awareness of the governance of social activities in the playground. In this article, we explore the link between the work of the Opies and ethnomethodological and conversation analytic studies by identifying aspects of young children’s games and rules that have been eloquently explored in both domains. The thoughtful move to make the recordings of Iona Opie’s conversations with children about their games and associated rules available is fully utilised here, as excerpts are transcribed and analysed using conversation analysis. In so doing, we demonstrate how conversation analysis can complement and extend the Opies’ significant work on children’s rule-making in play.