A cultural-historical study of emotions in play: catharsis and perezhivanie in an institutional care setting

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As a critical developmental goal, emotion regulation (ER) for young children in orphanages has yet to be fully understood. This paper explores how co-experiencing of dramatic interactions in playworlds supports a child’s resolution and regulation of emotions in an institutional care setting in China. 49 hours of video data were analysed with the cultural-historical concepts of catharsis and perezhivanie. Findings show that catharsis as a crucial aspect of ER development takes the form of a triadic relationship between emotions, imagination, and drama. Together they create conditions for the child to reorganize the person-environment unity, which helps shape the child’s further development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-71
Number of pages15
JournalMind, Culture, and Activity
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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