Call for Abstracts: Researching the Transgressive Aspects of Gaming and Play (Media Mutations pre-conference)

Researching the Transgressive Aspects of Gaming and Play
Bologna May 22, 2017

(Media Mutations 9 pre-conference)

Diverting from a focus on games and gaming, game studies currently pays growing attention to play, playfulness, and play practices. The idea that games and play are about the fun and the safe has repeatedly been challenged from different angles. While the average game experience is often characterized by failure and frustration related to increasingly difficult challenges, children’s play often change from laughter to crying in a heartbeat, and playfulness is at the core of dangerous activities such as BASE jumping and race car driving.

Play is “something precarious, a balance that needs to be maintained unbroken but that at the same time needs to be challenged and put at risk in order to remain interesting” (Linderoth and Mortensen 2015), and in this seminar we are asking what methods we can use to better understand the dimensions of this elusive paradox of play. From this point of departure, we will explore questions such as:

  • With what methods can we best understand the dynamic and ambiguous activities related to play?
  • How do we research subjective player experiences?
  • How can we best research subversive, deviant and transgressive play practices?
  • To what degree can game research borrow methods from other disciplines, and at which point do we need to speak about and develop play/game specific methods?

We aim for the seminar to be a venue where researchers can present ideas and drafts for intended submission to for instance Media-ludic approaches: Critical reflections on games and research practice. Special issue in Mediekultur, edited by Torill Elvira Mortensen and Emma Witkowski.

Submission instructions:

Abstracts of approximately 500 words should be sent to no later than Feb 15. Notification of acceptance will be given by March 15.


The seminar takes place at University of Bologna May 22, as a pre-conference seminar relating to the Media Mutations 9 conference.

The seminar is organized by Kristine Jørgensen, Associate Professor at University of Bergen and Torill Elvira Mortensen, Associate Professor at IT University of Copenhagen, with the support of the Media Mutations 9 organizers and University of Bologna.

The seminar is part of the research project Games and Transgressive Aesthetics, funded by the Research Council of Norway.

Seminar website:

call for papers


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