make the most of Lovereading
Search our site
Persons Unknown by Susie Steiner Read the opening extract of the brand new Susie Steiner book before its publication on 05/04/2018

Man, Play and Games by Roger Caillois


Man, Play and Games by Roger Caillois

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.


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

About the Author

Loading other formats...

Book Info

Publication date

1st August 2001


Roger Caillois

More books by Roger Caillois
Author 'Like for Like'


University of Illinois Press


224 pages


Social & cultural anthropology, ethnography



Its jam packed with fantastic titles, informative descriptions & fantastic reviews and has a vast array of great features & competitions.

Linda Rollins

Lovereading - a community of people passionate about reading and sharing their views. An incomparable website for book lovers.

Helen Clark

Books of the month/debuts of the month, kids/adults, fiction/non-fiction, free prize draws and free extracts, what's not to love?

Emma Smith

Lovereading are lovely people who send me lovely books. What's not to love?

Gavin Dimmock

My favourite thing about is the 'like for like' page this has really introduced me to some good reads! That and lots of honest reviews.

Sam Lewis

Lovereading tells me about new books before they hit the shelves, lets me find other authors I may like and has great prize draws!

Sheila Dale

Lovereading has given me the opportunity to delve into new and exciting worlds of authors who I would never have tried before.

Glynis Elliott

Love books. Love reading. Love reading books. And, here's the trick. Here's a website which caters for people like me.

Ian Harvey-brown