• Spectatoritis vs. World-building: Sandbox spectatorship in American children’s silent film culture

    Author(s):
    Fabrice Lyczba (see profile)
    Date:
    2017
    Group(s):
    Cultural Studies, Film Studies
    Subject(s):
    Reception studies, Silent cinema, Sociology of childhood
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    audience reception, Play, worldbuilding
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/M67F8T
    Abstract:
    Through a document-based ethno-historical approach, this article shows how cinema in the 1920s managed to inform urban children’s games and world-building activities, contrary to contemporary assumptions from early education reformers and sociologists that informed research into children’s play. I first show how most of this research tried to prove an early version of the ‘displacement effect’ theory, constructing modern media as impoverishing children’s imaginaries by transforming them into passive spectators – a modern disease identified as ‘spectatoritis’. At the same time, this research ignored its own data that pointed to the many ways in which children were actually developing their own mode of active spectatorship, poaching material from feature films and serials to inform and organize play – a mode of spectatorship I propose to call ‘sandbox spectatorship’. I then turn to some of these testimonies from 1920s children to recover the rhythms, places and roles of this extensive re-appropriation of film texts as sandbox spaces. The article concludes by suggesting three potential avenues for more research into the history of the deployment of movie-worlds into children’s world-building play.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    2 years ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved
    Share this:

    Downloads

    Item Name:pdf lyczba-resub-fl-revised-final-published.pdf
     Download View in browser
    Activity: Downloads: 159