Play, playfulness and the notion of technology

An evolving explanatory post about the title and themes of this site.

This site is intended to explore philosophical themes relating to play (and what I might mean by that is a topic in itself) and the idea from Heidegger via others, including Bruno Latour, Graham Harman and Don Ihde, of what technologies are.

I am also fascinated by the non-representational theory approach of Nigel Thrift and others within human geography and anthropology (Tim Ingold, Jon Murdoch) and how this might illuminate how play and space are related.

My hunch is that these two thingies are related. Thrift after all writes on technology, and the influence of Bruno Latour is huge on Thrift and Harman alike.

Another common thread is Alphonso Lingis, whom I have not yet read. Both Harman and Thrift have cited Lingis in their work.

My own tendencies are towards the posthumanist, including cyborg theory, and the eliminativist (I spent the majority of my three years as an undergrad at Sheffield reading Daniel Dennett, and he remains a favourite writer: a writer I find endlessly entertaining, but even more importantly a writer I trust).

I think a huge proportion of what is written about play is very “romantic,” and I acknowledge that play represents, for adults as well as for children, important time/space for the experience of exultation, joy and restoration. I don’t want to knock those things at all (if I’m honest I am usually a hedonist myself) but I do expect that I will be rather sceptical of glowing assumptions about the humanist, liberal and developmentalist virtues and functions of play. It has been good to read the work of Tara Woodyer recently, whose take on play I wholly concur with. So I will blog here about play as children’s activity in the world and how it is mediated by technologies (in the broad discursive sense rather than primarily the electronic sense).

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One thought on “Play, playfulness and the notion of technology

  1. “ but I do expect that I will be rather sceptical of glowing assumptions about the humanist, liberal and developmentalist virtues and functions of play”

    Have you been sceptical yet? if you have, I wasn’t paying attention, sorry. Remind me.

    I say this because I totally share your scepticism, I’d go further and say that I’m sick to the back teeth with all the guff about the wonder of play.

    It reminds me dreadfully of another reminiscence, from the middle of the last century: Hollywood was eulogising the noble savages of cowboy films while the very last remnants of those native nations were herded onto the very worst pockets of land, and rehomed when America’s minerals were found to be hidden beneath them.

    Don’t it always come to pass, you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone?

    Has children’s free play gone? is that why all these eulogies?

    Like

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