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Beyond Play: A New Approach to Games

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Item Summary

Title: Beyond Play: A New Approach to Games
Authors: Malaby, Thomas M.
Keywords: games
social artifacts
LC Subject Headings: Ethnology
Issue Date: 2007
Publisher: SAGE
Citation: Malaby, Thomas M. 2007. Beyond Play: A New Approach to Games. Games and Culture 2(2): 95-113.
Abstract: Games have intruded into popular, academic, and policymaker awareness to an unprecedented level, and this creates new opportunities for advancing our understanding of the relationship of games to society. I therefore offer here a new approach to games that stresses them as characterized by process. Games, I argue, are domains of contrived contingency, capable of generating emergent practices and interpretations, and are intimately connected with everyday life to a degree heretofore poorly understood. This approach is both consistent with a range of existing social theory and avoids many of the limitations that have characterized much games scholarship to date, in particular its tendency toward unsustainable formalism and exceptionalism. Rather than seeing gaming as a subset of play, and therefore as an activity that is inherently separable, safe, and pleasurable, I offer here a rethinking of games as social artifacts in their own right that are always in the process of becoming. This view both better accords with the experience of games by participants cross-culturally and bears the weight of the new questions being asked about games and about society.
Description: Refereed
Sponsor: Ethics and Values Studies in the Science & Society Program
Center for 21st Century Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
ISSN: 1555-4120
Appears in Collections:Mana'o - Papers on Anthropology

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