Jonas Linderoth

Jonas Linderoth is a professor in Education and the subject Media, Aesthetics and Narration. He is currently working part time at the university of Gothenburg, part time at the Swedish defense university.

Don’t break the circle – The ”evil” design of the ball game Four square

FROG 2021 – Talk

Carl Heath (Research Institute of Sweden)
Björn Sjöblom (Swedish Defense University)
Jonas Ivarsson (University of Gothenburg)

This talk is based on a study (Linderoth, Heath, Ivarsson & Sjöblom, forthcoming) about school personnel’s experiences of the ball game Four Square. Previous analyses of Four Square in the field of childhood studies have represented antagonistic play as always resulting from the children’s choosing. The results presented here challenge this view. The recurrent conflicting understandings that occur in Four Square can instead be seen as arising from the systemic characteristics of the game’s design. In four square, the boundaries of the magic circle can be blurred in a way that turns the game into an arena for bullying and exclusion. The study suggests that some ways in which school personal tries tackle this problem enforces the indistinct boundary between the game and the wider world, i.e. the blurred magic circle which is the root to the problem.


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