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Reviews – Voices of Play

“Subtly nuanced, theoretically sophisticated, and delightfully accessible, this vibrant ethnographic study of Miskitu children’s imaginative, multilingual, and intercultural play opens up exciting new perspectives on how indigenous identities persist and change in a globalizing world. Its particular focus on play as the performance and negotiation of children’s social positions makes an important contribution to the literature on child socialization in the maintenance of indigenous languages and cultures. ”

—Jane Freeland, co-editor of Language Rights and Language Survival: A Sociolinguistic and Sociocultural Approach

“This book is unique in how it brings together a novel ethnographic focus, ethnomusicology, and linguistic anthropology. Few ethnographies have been written about children in the anthropological literature, and even fewer have focused on children’s interactions. Voices of Play provides a detailed look at the everyday exchanges and the play performances of children and adolescents of Miskitu descent who are marginalized in various ways within the Nicaraguan nation-state.”

—Barbra A. Meek, author of We are Our Language: An Ethnography of Language Revitalization in a Northern Athabaskan Community

“The particular life histories of those children befriended by Minks render their relationships to those languages highly variable, allowing her, through careful consideration of those particular histories, to unpack with nuanced sensitivity the pragmatic code switching and code mixing of utterances used by those children in the contexts of play… She achieves this through detailed, yet entirely readable, linguistic and anthropological analysis of a number of play-focused speech events.”

—Mark Jamieson in American Anthropologist

“Through her ethnographic study, Amanda Minks examines how languages, genres, and voices intersect within the children’s social and communicative competence….Voices of Play is a valuable study for those interested in the role of languages in cultural transformation.”

Melany Bowman in Journal of American Folklore

Voices of Play would make an excellent addition to reading lists for university students involved in qualitative or ethnographic research methods coursework.  Minks’ comprehensive approach and analysis would serve as an outstanding example of this type of research methodology.”

Sarah Watts in International Journal of Play