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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The forgotten childhood of Albaqa’a : children’s play in a Palestinian refugee camp Samara, Orayb


This thesis examines the effects of conflicts in the Middle East on the play behaviour of Palestinian refugee children living in Albaqa'a refugee camp outside of Amman, Jordan. Adopting the perspectives of child development theory, sociocultural theory, cognitive theory, communication theory, and theories of human responses to adversity, the study provides a detailed account of the play activities of 30 children, aged 8 to 12. Data were collected using ethnographic techniques such as observation, informal interviewing, and artefact collection. The richness, complexity, and dimensionality of the children's experiences in this social and cultural context are conveyed through a documentary film entitled The Forgotten Childhood of Albaqa 'a. The results of this study highlight the need for a paradigmatic shift towards understanding childhood as a highly diverse life phase shaped by personal and environmental factors, and toward thinking about children as agents of their own development who, even, during times of great adversity, consciously act upon and influence the environment in which they live.

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