[Air-L] The Meaning of Play

Tuszynski, Stephanie STuszynski at bethanywv.edu
Mon Feb 28 07:58:32 PST 2011

Ren - this is interesting since I don't think of "play" as something that applies only to gaming and your definition is very deeply rooted in that form and only that form. I've seen a lot of female fans engage in play, both with identity and with creative activities, that have very little to do with any of this. No rules, no boundaries, no object. I would still consider it playing but it's far removed from the idea of a game with rules and an object. Interesting.

Dr. Stephanie Tuszynski
Assistant Professor of Communication
Bethany College

Message: 6
Date: Fri, 25 Feb 2011 17:04:58 +0000
From: Ren Reynolds <ren at aldermangroup.com>
To: list aoir <air-l at aoir.org>
Subject: [Air-L] The Meaning of Play
Message-ID: <735A8F73-97A5-4ECC-A1EB-5FD2EAA0B857 at aldermangroup.com>
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& with apologies to games scholars and twitter followers for cross posting
& general apologies for shameless self promotion...

I've been thinking about what play is for some time, I've now blogged these thoughts at a little length (3k+ words) over at TerraNova: http://terranova.blogs.com/terra_nova/2011/02/the-meaning-of-play.html

As I note there, I did this for a general reason: existing definitions did not satisfy me; and for a specific reason: I'm looking at the governance of online play by researching the history of sports law and governance and needed a theory that explained what is going on when law does not intervene in contact sports, even when there is injury.

So this is a very general definition which I hope is useful in any field where one is looking at what play is, I'm interested in comments to help de-bug it:

Play is the recognised, negotiated, process of a purposeful shift in the dominant meaning; and contextual attribution of value, of acts.

Games are normative forms of play.

ludic-meaning - the meaning that has been shifted or attributed

ludic-semiotics - the system of the signs product through play

ludic-capital - the degree to which these ludic-meaning and semiotics are operational in a given context e.g. when set against institutional-capital.

Magic circle - the term we use to denote the bounds of the context wherein the ludic-meaning of an act prevails over the co-existing non-ludic meaning (or lack thereof).

web: www.renreynolds.com

Think Tank: www.virtualpolicy.net

blog: terranova.blogs.com

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