Tradition from the Perspective of Children's Games

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Brian Sutton-Smith


In the conclusions adopted by the participants in the 1988 European Seminar on Traditional Games, children's games were included. Since I have been studying children's traditional games for the past 40 years both in my country of birth, New Zealand, and in my adopted country, the U.S.A. (Games of New Zealand Children, Folkgames of Children, History of Children' s Play), I thought it might be useful to convey to you the results of those studies which throw light upon the categories of games you are using in your collections and upon the concept of the traditional game itself (cfr. topology for the classification in appendix, Renson, Manson & De Vroede, 1991). Unless otherwise stated, therefore, all mention of historical items in this paper are from colonial New Zealand in the past and present centuries. This whole paper might be considered something of a colonial commentary on the history of traditional games. I will frame my remarks in terms of your eight categories: ball games, bowl and pin games, throwing games, shooting games, fighting games, animal games, locomotion games, and acrobatics.


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