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Man, Play and Games

by Roger Caillois

Man, Play and Games Synopsis

According to Roger Caillois, play is an occasion of pure waste: waste of time, energy, ingenuity, skill, and often of money. In spite of this - or because of it - play constitutes an essential element of human social and spiritual development.In this classic study, Caillois defines play as a free and voluntary activity that occurs in a pure space, isolated and protected from the rest of life. Play is uncertain, since the outcome may not be foreseen, and it is governed by rules that provide a level playing field for all participants. In its most basic form, play consists of finding a response to the opponent's action - or to the play situation - that is free within the limits set by the rules.Caillois qualifies types of games - according to whether competition, chance, simulation, or vertigo (being physically out of control) is dominant - and ways of playing, ranging from the unrestricted improvisation characteristic of children's play to the disciplined pursuit of solutions to gratuitously difficult puzzles. Caillois also examines the means by which games become part of daily life and ultimately contribute to various cultures their most characteristic customs and institutions. Presented here in Meyer Barash's superb English translation, Man, Play and Games is a companion volume to Caillois's Man and the Sacred.

Man, Play and Games Press Reviews

Well worth the attention of every sociologist interested in the relationship of culture to play. -- American Sociological Review A book to be read for ideas. -- American Journal of Sociology An excellently conceived work. -- Social Forces

Book Information

ISBN: 9780252070334
Publication date: 1st August 2001
Author: Roger Caillois
Publisher: University of Illinois Press
Format: Paperback / softback
Pagination: 224 pages
Categories: Social & cultural anthropology, ethnography,

About Roger Caillois

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