Becoming through ‘the break’: A post-human account of a child’s play

Gail M. Boldt, Kevin Leander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


In this article, we think through six-year-old Mike’s play with Lego and with his father, using Deleuze and Guattari’s concept of the break. For Deleuze and Guattari, the break is thought about in relation to impersonal flows of desire that are always everywhere at work and to the refrain, which we describe as materials and energies organized into repeating patterns. The movement of desiring flows in relation to refrains inevitably produces difference; breaks matter insofar as they are the introduction of difference that might make a difference, that produces movement and momentum, the felt life in things. In this article, we take two passes at thinking about breaks and their associated movements. In the first, we come close to the action of Mike’s play to think about materials, narratives and discourses, and about the ways, both predictable and wild, that they assemble and disassemble, hold together and fall apart. In the second pass, we think about the temporal organization of play and how players mess about in time and with time, drawing on Deleuze and Guattari’s (1990) notion of chronos and aiôn. After considering the break in Mike’s play, we conclude with reflections on the differences that would be possible were we to allow movement to be immanent to our ways of being as researchers and as teachers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)409-425
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Early Childhood Literacy
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education


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