Disciplining Children in Toronto Playgrounds in the Early Twentieth Century
This paper examines how adults used playgrounds to discipline children in early twentieth-century Toronto. Using a close reading of playground texts from the period, the argument supports and elaborates upon Elisabeth Young-Bruehl’s discussion of childism and Michel Foucault’s arguments about the control of activity and the art of distributions in the discipline of children. Adult reformers used time and space in order to produce particular gender identities and also to fulfill their own narcissistic needs. The Toronto case illustrates the depth of social power that often resides in seemingly benign urban spaces and the ways in which the prejudice against children can control their micromobilities and geographies.