EVENT: Rationalizing Play - A Critical Theory of Digital Gaming


By Amy Ratelle on Feb 25th, 2016

WORKSHOP: Tuesday, March 1, 2016 | 6pm-9pm
Location: McLuhan Centre for Culture and Technology (39A Queen's Park Cresent East)
(Parking available off 121 St. Joseph St.)

Presented by:
SARA GRIMES Faculty of Information (iSchool), University of Toronto, with special guest Andrew Feenberg, School of Communication, Simon Fraser University

In this workshop we will present and discuss a new framework for the study of games as sites of social rationalization based on Feenberg’s critical theory of technology. We will begin by making the case for a consideration of games (non-digital and digital) as systems of social rationality, akin to other modern systems such as capitalist markets and bureaucratic organizations. We will then present a conceptualization of play as a process through which the player focuses attention away from the undifferentiated action of everyday life toward a differentiated sphere of playful activity. This approach reveals how the experience of play changes as it becomes rationalized through the technological mediation, specifically computerization, and widespread standardization that occurs as games become largescale social practices. We will review our theory of the rationalization of play, ludification (Grimes & Feenberg, 2009), and outline the key components or processes found in socially rationalized games. Workshop participants will be invited to discuss different applications of ludification as an analytic framework, explore with us its limitations, as well as consider alternate or oppositional tendencies found within digital game technologies and culture.

This workshop is open to all within and outside academia. You are encouraged to register online in advance.
Click here to register for this workshop.

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