Lifework and Legacy: Reviewing Iona and Peter Opie’s Contribution to the Study of Play

International Journal of Play: Call for papers for forthcoming Special Issue Lifework and Legacy: Reviewing Iona and Peter Opie’s Contribution to the Study of Play

The work of Iona (1923– ) and Peter Opie (1918–1982) on the play and games of school-aged children will be familiar to many who study the social and cultural aspects of children’s lives.

Working as independent and unfunded scholars, the Opies published five books on this topic: The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren (1959), Children’s Games in Street and Playground (1969), The Singing Game (1985), Children’s Games with Things (1997), and Iona Opie’s solo volume, The People in the Playground (1993). Distilled from data collected principally from schoolchildren during the period 1950–80 (now held at the British Library Sound Archive, the Folklore Society Archives, and the Bodleian Libraries), as well as pioneering historical research, these publications have been widely read and extremely influential.

2013 marks the year of Iona Opie’s 90th birthday and what would have been Peter Opie’s 95th. To mark this event, a special issue of the International Journal of Play in 2014 is planned, devoted to the Opies, their research and their spheres of influence. The guest editors of this special issue (no. 3 in 2014) will be June Factor and Julia Bishop who warmly encourage contributions. Possible topics include (but are not restricted to):

• Critical evaluations of Iona and Peter Opie’s lives and work, collaborations with others, scholarly influences, predecessors, contemporaries.

• Critical considerations of the Opies’ data, such as its wider social and demographic context, the relationship between their archival data and their books.

• The extent and nature of the Opies’ influence in the UK and in other countries among those interested in children’s folklore, especially play.

• Forms of play; classification of games.

• The historical and comparative study of play.

• The ethnographic study of play, including research methods.

• Themes and issues exemplified in the Opies’ work, such as the relationships between media, commerce and play; risk; place, space and play.

Submissions of up to 7000 words are welcomed, as well as shorter articles (up to 2000 words) of memoir and reflection. Please check the International Journal of Play website for details regarding presentation of material.

Deadline: 1 April, 2014

Email contact:
June Factor:

Julia Bishop:

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