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Discourse and Practice$
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Theo van Leeuwen

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195323306

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195323306.001.0001

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Representing Social Actors with Toys

(p.149) 9 Representing Social Actors with Toys
Discourse and Practice

Theo Van Leeuwen (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter adapts the framework for representing social actors (chapter 2) to the domain of children's toys. Focusing specifically on the Playmobil range of toys, the chapter investigates how children can, and do, use dolls and figurines as a semiotic resource for representing social actors in play. It analyzes Playmobil toys for very young children as a semantic framework with its own inclusions and exclusions, its own ways of structuring the roles, identities and meanings of the social actors included, and of linking categories such as age, gender, class, ethnicity and profession or trade to specific representational features and attributes. The chapter ends with an account of the way children use Playmobil as a resource for rehearsing their understandings of the social world around them.

Keywords:   critical discourse analysis, social actors, children's toys, children's play, age, gender, class, ethnicity

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