Corona in the Schoolyard: Children's Game Corona as a Form of Folklore Communication

Authors

  • Đorđina Trubarac Matić Institute of Ethnography SASA, Belgrade
  • Aleksandar Krel Institute of Ethnography SASA, Belgrade

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.21301/eap.v17i2.10

Keywords:

children’s game Corona, childlore, Tag, Covid-19, chasing games, the semiotics of folkloric forms

Abstract

The children's game Corona appeared spontaneously at the beginning of 2020 within a small folklore community of lower grade pupils at the “St. Sava” Elementary School in the Belgrade’s municipality of Vračar. Sudden changes in the daily routines of the community members created a need for controlled articulation of accumulated tension generated during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a sociocultural construct the chasing game of Corona underwent various modifications during the two academic years covered by our research (2020 and 2021), due to the changes that took place in the micro and macro sociocultural environment. Generally, the chasing games are common to children and they have an important developmental function, since they encourage the improvement of adaptive abilities and the agility in successful locomotor responses to stimuli from the external environment. Although the semiotic code of this type of games is based on the hunter ‒ prey relation, the game Corona belongs to a specific subtype of chasing games that is related to the idea of progressive spread of infectious disease, just as the traditional game of šugice/šuge (Serbian for Tag; literally, ’scabies’). The examples of this type of games have been observed in various parts of the world, where they refer to various infectious diseases: the plague, Spanish fever, leprosy, polio. All these games have their roots in the traumatic collective experiences of dealing with epidemics. The basic semiotic code (hunter‒prey relation) has undergone a secondary semiotization in this type of games, shifting to the binary opposition sick: healthy. However, they both stem from the same binary oppositions such as life: death; human : demonic; we: others. As the children's game Corona entails communication based on a set of symbolic actions, it operates as a "capacitor" of cultural and semiotic memory. It brings contents from deeper diachronic layers, actualizing cultural experience accumulated in the recent and distant past.

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Published

2022-10-01

How to Cite

Trubarac Matić, Đorđina, and Aleksandar Krel. 2022. “Corona in the Schoolyard: Children’s Game Corona As a Form of Folklore Communication”. Etnoantropološki Problemi / Issues in Ethnology and Anthropology 17 (2):697–715. https://doi.org/10.21301/eap.v17i2.10.

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