Papers from the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology Conferences

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The article presents an analysis of the historical and contemporary context of girls’ plays with dolls and doll-houses. The anthropological materials about children's plays with dolls and doll-houses help to recreate the doll context as a cultural represent of evolutional development. The archaic functions of the doll used in rituals and traditional ceremonies objectivize the historically inherent cultural status of the doll. In traditional cultures, through dolls plays children who play with their peers and older children, receive relevant information about their natural and social environment, social relationships, symbols, values and ideals of adults’ world. Dolls plays enhance mastering ethical and the moral values handed down from generation to generation. Another aspect of the analysis is connected with the traditional “school” of play replacement of an object. It is illustrated by the material about manufacturing and use of a ‘simple’ doll in many traditional world cultures. Dolls plays reflect socially significant images and senses of idealized adult life. The development of the sign world of dolls is closely connected with the interpretation of the doll image as a sign of humans taken in their social and cultural context.

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