Homo Ludens

Author: Johan Huizinga
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISBN: 9780415175944
Format: PDF, ePub
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First published in 1998. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.

Man Play and Games

Author: Roger Caillois
Publisher: University of Illinois Press
ISBN: 9780252070334
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Play is "an occasion of pure waste: waste of time, energy, ingenuity, skill, and often of money." It is also an essential element of human social and spiritual development. In this study, Roger Caillois defines play as a voluntary activity that occurs in a pure space, isolated and protected from the rest of life. Within limits set by rules that provide a level playing field, players move toward an unpredictable outcome by responding to their opponents' actions. Caillois qualifies types of games and ways of playing, from the improvisation characteristic of children's play to the disciplined pursuit of solutions to gratuitously difficult puzzles. He also examines the means by which games become part of daily life, ultimately giving cultures their most characteristic customs and institutions.

Playful Identities

Author: Valerie Frissen
Publisher: Amsterdam University Press - M
ISBN: 9789089646392
Format: PDF, ePub
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In this publication, eighteen scholars examine the increasing role of digital media technologies in identity construction through play. This interdisciplinary collection argues that present-day play and games are not only appropriate metaphors for capturing postmodern human identities, but are in fact the means by which people create their identity.

Religion in Human Evolution

Author: Robert N. Bellah
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674063090
Format: PDF, ePub
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This ambitious book probes our biological past to discover the kinds of lives that human beings have imagined were worth living. Bellah’s theory goes deep into cultural and genetic evolution to identify a range of capacities (communal dancing, storytelling, theorizing) whose emergence made religious development possible in the first millennium BCE.

Play Matters

Author: Miguel Sicart
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262325969
Format: PDF, ePub
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What do we think about when we think about play? A pastime? Games? Childish activities? The opposite of work? Think again: If we are happy and well rested, we may approach even our daily tasks in a playful way, taking the attitude of play without the activity of play. So what, then, is play? In Play Matters, Miguel Sicart argues that to play is to be in the world; playing is a form of understanding what surrounds us and a way of engaging with others. Play goes beyond games; it is a mode of being human. We play games, but we also play with toys, on playgrounds, with technologies and design. Sicart proposes a theory of play that doesn't derive from a particular object or activity but is a portable tool for being--not tied to objects but brought by people to the complex interactions that form their daily lives. It is not separated from reality; it is part of it. It is pleasurable, but not necessarily fun. Play can be dangerous, addictive, and destructive. Along the way, Sicart considers playfulness, the capacity to use play outside the context of play; toys, the materialization of play -- instruments but also play pals; playgrounds, play spaces that enable all kinds of play; beauty, the aesthetics of play through action; political play -- from Maradona's goal against England in the 1986 World Cup to the hactivist activities of Anonymous; the political, aesthetic, and moral activity of game design; and why play and computers get along so well.

Models and Mirrors

Author: Don Handelman
Publisher: Berghahn Books
ISBN: 9781571811653
Format: PDF
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Ritual is one of the most discussed cultural practices, yet its treatment in anthropological terms has been seriously limited, characterized by a host of narrow conceptual distinctions. One major reason for this situation has been the prevalence of positivist anthropologies that have viewed and summarized ritual occasions first and foremost in terms of their declared and assumed functions. By contrast, this book, which has become a classic, investigates them as epistemological phenomena in their own right. Comparing public events - a domain which includes ritual and related occasions - the author argues that any public event must first be comprehended through the logic of its design. It is the logic of organization of an occasion which establishes in large measure what that occasion is able to do in relation to the world within which it is created and practiced.

Plough Sword and Book

Author: Ernest Gellner
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226287027
Format: PDF, Mobi
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Elucidates and argues for the author's concept of human history from the past to the present

Gaming

Author: Alexander R. Galloway
Publisher: U of Minnesota Press
ISBN: 1452908680
Format: PDF, ePub
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Video games have been a central feature of the cultural landscape for over twenty years and now rival older media like movies, television, and music in popularity and cultural influence. Yet there have been relatively few attempts to understand the video game as an independent medium. Most such efforts focus on the earliest generation of text-based adventures (Zork, for example) and have little to say about such visually and conceptually sophisticated games as Final Fantasy X, Shenmue, Grand Theft Auto, Halo, and The Sims, in which players inhabit elaborately detailed worlds and manipulate digital avatars with a vast—and in some cases, almost unlimited—array of actions and choices. In Gaming, Alexander Galloway instead considers the video game as a distinct cultural form that demands a new and unique interpretive framework. Drawing on a wide range of disciplines, particularly critical theory and media studies, he analyzes video games as something to be played rather than as texts to be read, and traces in five concise chapters how the “algorithmic culture” created by video games intersects with theories of visuality, realism, allegory, and the avant-garde. If photographs are images and films are moving images, then, Galloway asserts, video games are best defined as actions. Using examples from more than fifty video games, Galloway constructs a classification system of action in video games, incorporating standard elements of gameplay as well as software crashes, network lags, and the use of cheats and game hacks. In subsequent chapters, he explores the overlap between the conventions of film and video games, the political and cultural implications of gaming practices, the visual environment of video games, and the status of games as an emerging cultural form. Together, these essays offer a new conception of gaming and, more broadly, of electronic culture as a whole, one that celebrates and does not lament the qualities of the digital age. Alexander R. Galloway is assistant professor of culture and communication at New York University and author of Protocol: How Control Exists after Decentralization.

Play Anything

Author: Ian Bogost
Publisher: Basic Books
ISBN: 0465096506
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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How filling life with play-whether soccer or lawn mowing, counting sheep or tossing Angry Birds-forges a new path for creativity and joy in our impatient age Life is boring: filled with meetings and traffic, errands and emails. Nothing we'd ever call fun. But what if we've gotten fun wrong? In Play Anything, visionary game designer and philosopher Ian Bogost shows how we can overcome our daily anxiety; transforming the boring, ordinary world around us into one of endless, playful possibilities. The key to this playful mindset lies in discovering the secret truth of fun and games. Play Anything, reveals that games appeal to us not because they are fun, but because they set limitations. Soccer wouldn't be soccer if it wasn't composed of two teams of eleven players using only their feet, heads, and torsos to get a ball into a goal; Tetris wouldn't be Tetris without falling pieces in characteristic shapes. Such rules seem needless, arbitrary, and difficult. Yet it is the limitations that make games enjoyable, just like it's the hard things in life that give it meaning. Play is what happens when we accept these limitations, narrow our focus, and, consequently, have fun. Which is also how to live a good life. Manipulating a soccer ball into a goal is no different than treating ordinary circumstances- like grocery shopping, lawn mowing, and making PowerPoints-as sources for meaning and joy. We can "play anything" by filling our days with attention and discipline, devotion and love for the world as it really is, beyond our desires and fears. Ranging from Internet culture to moral philosophy, ancient poetry to modern consumerism, Bogost shows us how today's chaotic world can only be tamed-and enjoyed-when we first impose boundaries on ourselves.