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Book: Toys, Play, Culture and Society

Toys, Play, Culture and Society

Rossie, Jean-Pierre (2005). Toys, Play, Culture and Society. An Anthropological Approach with Reference to North Africa and the Sahara. Foreword by Brian Sutton-Smith, 256 p., 144 ill. Paperback, black and white illustrations, included CD.

Included CD with

144 original illustrations, mostly color photographs

Collection: Saharan and North African Toy and Play Cultures

Rossie, Jean-Pierre (2005). Saharan and North African Toy and Play Cultures. Commented Bibliography on Play, Games and Toys. 61 p.

Rossie, Jean-Pierre (2005). Saharan and North African Toy and Play Cultures. Children's Dolls and Doll Play. Foreword by Dominique Champault, 328 p., 163 ill

Rossie, Jean-Pierre (2005). Saharan and North African Toy and Play Cultures. The Animal World in Play, Games and Toys. Foreword by Theo van Leeuwen, 219 p., 107 ill.

Collection : Cultures Ludiques Sahariennes et Nord-Africaines

Rossie, Jean-Pierre (2005). Cultures Ludiques Sahariennes et Nord-Africaines. Bibliographie commentée sur les jeux et jouets. 61 p.

Rossie, Jean-Pierre (2005). Cultures Ludiques Sahariennes et Nord-Africaines. Poupées d'enfants et jeux de poupées. Préface de Dominique Champault, 344 p., 163 ill.

Rossie, Jean-Pierre (2005). Cultures Ludiques Sahariennes et Nord-Africaines. L'animal dans les jeux et jouets. Préface de Theo van Leeuwen, 229 p., 107 ill.


27 Euros, air postage included

How to order book and included CD


Foreword by Brian Sutton-Smith

As soon as one enters into this fabric of North African and Saharan children’s play and games one catches a resonance of the author’s Flemish predecessor Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1525-1569) painting a multitude of children at play. But in that case they were all drawn scrambling together at one place and at one time. And their vigour was an iconic protest against the imperial Spanish hegemony. Whereas the Flemish Jean-Pierre Rossie is dealing with small scattered groups of children who are sometimes battling and sometimes enjoying the hegemony of the modern toy industry, and whose seductive enemy is no longer the Spanish Queen, it is the Barbie Doll.

Rossie is of course not the first to analyse the current historical changes which render some of the older forms of world play less important. Before him were the massive works of Lady A. B. Gomme (1898), Iona and Peter Opie (1959-1995) and multiple others on a smaller scale. All of these were usually describing forms of play life that they felt were sadly disappearing in the modern world. Their major contribution to our apprehension was thus nostalgic. These were works of regret for the childhood times gone by, usually accompanied by some insistence that some of these games should be kept alive or revived for the good of the human species.

What Rossie has done is to start likewise by showing us the same processes of children losing their older forms of play in rural and urban parts of Africa. But what makes it especially more touching is that he shows that one part of what is being given up are a great variety of intricate toys carefully crafted by the children themselves and reproduced here with some hundred photographic illustrations of these child made toys. But more important he has spent his life not just putting these abatements of tradition on record, but has been also active with others in developing pedagogies within which the children’s ancient toy achievements can be made to still have continuing success.


Foreword by Brian Sutton-Smith 7

1 Introduction 9

2 Toy design: reflections of an anthropologist 19

2.1 Who is Barbie? 19
2.2 Who is Brownie the Gnome? 25
2.3 Toy design with natural and waste material 27
2.4 Toy design and safety 38

3 Toys, play, signs, meanings and communication 43

3.1 Toys, play and communication 43
3.2 Toys, signs and meanings 49

3.2.1 Material aspects 50
3.2.2 Technical aspects 57
3.2.3 Cognitive and emotional aspects 60

4 Toys, play, socio-cultural reproduction and continuity 81

5 Toys, play and creativity 93

6 Toys, play, girls and boys 105

7 Toys, play and generations 117

8 Toys, play, rituals and festivities 139

9 Toys, play and change 149

9.1 Changing North African and Saharan childhoods 150
9.2 Changing toys and play in Morocco and the Tunisian Sahara 161

10 Conclusion 183

11 Using North African and Saharan toy and play culture 187

11.1 Pedagogical and cultural action in developing countries 189
11.2 Intercultural and peace education in a Western context 205

List of illustrations 211

References 221

Appendix 1: Scheme for a detailed description of play, games and toys 239

Appendix 2: Autobiographical notes 243

Map of North Africa and the Sahara 249

Map of Morocco 251

Author Index 253

Geographic and Ethnic Index 255

Original color photos and other illustrations on the included CD

© since 2005, , Jean-Pierre Rossie