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[Xmca-l] Re: Do adults play?
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- Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Do adults play?
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- Date: Mon, 21 Oct 2013 23:31:07 +0000
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- Thread-topic: [Xmca-l] Re: Do adults play?
Greg, Yes, I fully agree about the reality construction through play. In fact, though, children's pretend play is the means by which they rehearse and enter the socially constructed realities such as playing school and the rest. With adults, the socially constructed reality can be so limiting, though. I focused on the nature of resistance in working with the NYCTransit mechanics because in fact the game led and let them engage their opposition to the reality of work and its conditions. As they articulated their opposition, they constructed the very tools that were being introduced to them to document their work. Before the workshops, mechanics would often say that they should not type in their own work record, suggesting that was an administrative job. However, in the resistance elicited in play they gave countless examples of how such other-made records could contribute to the problems of them not having the parts they need to fix a bus or not having good enough information about repairs done. Their resistance through the game led to the inevitable conclusion that they had much to say, that they were the best authors of their actions, that they would be better served by reviewing a record created by the one closest to the work, and that typing was a small obstacle to their authorship. Once their goal was clear to them, typing was no obstacle, even with numb fingertips from years of engine burns. So yes, as you say, "the very concept of "play" and "fun" and "games" seems to construct the very reality that it purports to subvert." Real subversion is not play; it is work!
From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] On Behalf Of Greg Thompson
Sent: Monday, October 21, 2013 5:40 PM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Do adults play?
Awesome work that you do. From dissertation onward - really cool.
(I would say something about "Kindred spirits" but I'm sure you've heard that 100 times before and so it would hardly seem playful at all. Play is in the eyes of the beholder?).
Games are a nice example - different from "real life" (although we might say, paraphrasing Shakespeare, "all the world's a game").
Your comment that "in adult life, games that free adults from the constraints of reality and enable experimentation, fun, and innovation can be very playful and productive in a developmental sense" is starting to make me think that the question of "play" is really quite fundamentally tied to ontological questions about the nature of reality.
Where I am getting confused is when I put this together with Valerie's email using Bateson and Goffman. In that view, the "reality" that you mention is really already a socially transformed reality, a frame of one sort or another that is "more than" reality itself. So it seems like the very concept of "play" and "fun" and "games" seems to construct the very reality that it purports to subvert. That is, "play" makes reality "real"
by opposing it.
Didn't see that coming, but that is where I seem to be going, although I'm not yet able to make sense of it.
On Mon, Oct 21, 2013 at 12:51 PM, Kindred, Jessica <email@example.com> wrote:
> I wanted to point to a recent study by Dr. Jerome Siegel of U.C.L.A.
> that has implications about the brain and play, suggesting that a
> neurotransmitter that is much reduced in brains of people (and dogs)
> with narcolepsy has also come to be seen as a key to joy: "Release a
> dog into a yard to run, dig and play, and its hypocretin levels soar.
> But force the same dog to run on a treadmill, and its hypocretin
> levels remain flat." (
> I think it speaks to the distinction between play and other activities
> that some might see as leisure-like and picks up on the joy factor
> that Feynman is also clearly illustrating.
> More in line with Activity Theory though, I also wanted to add to the
> discussion of play a few footnotes about research done at the
> Workplace Technology Research Group at City University of New York,
> stemming originally from Sylvia Scribner's Laboratory for Cognitive Studies of Work.
> We made work simulation games that engaged workers in play in order to
> cultivate paradigm shifts in working groups with the implementation of
> new technologies and/or organizational reorganizations. The games were
> highly designed through ethnographic research about the actual
> workplaces; and they were structured to enable departure from the
> everyday while triggering default patterns of workplace behavior in
> the context of play so that organizational problems could be
> recognized by groups of participants, and new solutions could be
> constructed; toy-size objects resembled the real workplace products in
> some obvious but untechnical ways that used the doubling potential of language and enabled a point of view on the whole.
> And they were fun. I wrote a paper years back based on the research we
> were doing, called "8/18/97 Bite me": Resistance in learning and work
> (Mind, Culture, and Activity Volume 6, Issue 3, 1999), where there is
> an extensive description of the game process developed for workers in
> NYCTransit Bus front line maintenance depots. Similarly my
> dissertation focused on possessive expression in participant writing
> and psychological ownership in a game with gear manufacturing managers. [Possessive Expression at Work:
> "those Machines are Mine" (CUNY 2005) reprinted as Belonging(s) at Work:
> Psychological ownership at the end of the industrial age (VDM Verlag,
> September 6, 2009)].
> Key to all of that work was the game as play, as fun and experimental
> spaces where individuals could engage each other in a very different
> way than they did in their day to day work roles. I realize games are
> not the essence of play, but in adult life, games that free adults
> from the constraints of reality and enable experimentation, fun, and
> innovation can be very playful and productive in a developmental
> sense. I am not sure if the hypocretin levels rose while our
> participants played the work games, but I wouldn't be surprised if
> they were a lot higher than when these same people returned to their
> toolboxes and desks. And I did see the rise of possessive expression...
> Now I work with adult college students and incorporate games into my
> classrooms all the time. Usually these experiences take the form of
> the Jigsaw classroom model as a way to have students "Be the Brain"
> together by each researching a piece and coming together to learn
> about each other (as in "I'm Amygdala..."); or be the history of
> psychology together by each researching a theorist's life and work (as
> in "I'm Vygotsky"); or be a manufacturing company together using a
> nametag production game I developed (Workgame.org).
> Jessica Kindred, Ph.D.
> Faculty, Psychology
> School of New Resources
> The College of New Rochelle
> 1368 Fulton Street
> Brooklyn, NY 11216
> 718 638 2500
> 646 725 4459
> -----Original Message-----
> From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:
> email@example.com] On Behalf Of Barowy, William
> Sent: Monday, October 21, 2013 9:28 AM
> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Do adults play?
> Feynman played:
> William Barowy, Ph. D.
> Associate Professor,
> Lesley University
> 29 Everett Street,
> Cambridge, MA 02138-2790
> Desktop: http://bill.barowy.net/
> Mobile: http://bill.barowy.net/m/
> "I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn
> how to do it."
> --Pablo Picasso
Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
Visiting Assistant Professor
Department of Anthropology
883 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602