Written by: Casey O'Donnell
Primary Source: Casey O’Donnell
On Balinese Cockfights: Deeply Extending Play
Hot off the press over at Games and Culture is my essay, “On Balinese Cockfights: Deeply Extending Play.” This essay is a stepping stone to more recent theoretical work I’ve been exploring w/re to Meaningful Play. Yes, I recognize that it is a bit funny that Michigan State University also hosts a conference by the same name. I am also chairing the conference this year.
In this article, I advance three points, each in service of “extending play” as a critical conceptual category. The article begins with Clifford Geertz’s essay “Deep Play,” tracing through its lens the possibilities for “deeply extending play.” The essay extends Geertz’s argument that games and play are in/as/of/through culture. Games and play are not generative of, reflective of, or just culture. Rather they are intensely interwoven. I argue that games and play, as conceptual categories, need to be viewed as “experimental systems,” and those concepts deserve to be informed by alternative perspectives. Finally, the article returns to the notion of “meaningful play” as mechanism of sense making and cultural negotiations with structures. Meaningful play lies at the core of exploration and encourages a different kind of reading of play(ful) spaces. Meaningful play is part of what makes games and play so fundamentally an aspect of the human (and nonhuman) condition.
Get the PDF over at SAGE if you have access. If you don’t, then send me an email. Or grab the pre-peer-review version of the essay over on Academia.edu.