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Brian Sutton-Smith (1924–2015) is widely acknowledged as a leading author in the field of children’s play. From his early storybooks, his studies of children’s folklore, and his debates with Jean Piaget, one sees the gradual development of the respected theorist who produced the classic work, The Ambiguity of Play. In that 1997 text, he identified seven generic approaches to the study of play, which he termed ‘rhetorics’. He was interested in the way play helps people adapt to the challenges of life and eventually came to view play as a mechanism for emotional survival.

He was involved not only in the American Psychological Association and the Association for the Study of Play, but he also helped create the Children’s Folklore Section of the American Folklore Society. ...

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