The Other Caillois: Game Studies beyond Man, Play and Games – Games and Culture special issue

The Other Caillois: Game Studies beyond Man, Play and Games
Edited by Marco Benoît Carbone (University College London) and Paolo Ruffino (University of Lincoln)
Throughout the emergence of video games studies, the reception of French intellectual and game theorist Roger Caillois has been contradictory. On the one hand Caillois, along with other “classics”, provided a springboard for discourses on video games that sought to frame them as dignified cultural forms within the established philosophical domain of play. On the other hand, while using Caillois as an unavoidable benchmark, game scholars have focused mostly or exclusively on Man, Play and Games, increasingly criticising it as a descriptive and positivist work. This seems to contradict a parallel and possibly much stronger intellectual legacy (and critique) of Caillois as a transversal, a-systematic and provocative thinker. Aligned with a critique of positivism that can be traced to Nietzsche, Caillois envisioned a resort to “diagonal sciences” that could decisively (and often controversially) cut through established approaches to play, myth, the sacred, art, and politics.
Game studies have approached Caillois as an entry point into the study of games and culture, almost as a ‘token’ to drop in the introduction when defining what games are (or are not). The field has rarely taken his early production close to its full implications.
Challenging what could be argued to be a unilateral reception of this author, this issue of Games and Culture provides an opportunity to envision a more complex relation between Caillois and game studies.
Summary of content:
Introduction: The Other Caillois: The Many Masks of Game Studies 
Marco Benoît Carbone (UCL), Paolo Ruffino (University of Lincoln),Stephane Massonet (University of Brussels)
Roger Caillois and E-Sports: On the Problems of Treating Play as Work
Tom Brock (Manchester Metropolitan University)
Mimicking Gamers: Understanding Gamification Through Roger Caillois
Vincenzo Idone Cassone (Università‘ degli Studi di Torino)
Beyond Diagonal Sciences: Applying Roger Caillois’s Concepts of Symmetry and Dissimetry to Journey
Enrico Gandolfi (Kent State University)
Roger Caillois and Marxism: A Game Studies Perspective
Lars Kristensen and Ulf Wilhelmson (University of Skövde)

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