Play is "an occasion of pure waste: waste of time, energy, ingenuity, skill, and often of money." It is also an essential element of human social and spiritual development. In this study, Roger Caillois defines play as a voluntary activity that occurs in a pure space, isolated and protected from the rest of life. Within limits set by rules that provide a level playing field, players move toward an unpredictable outcome by responding to their opponents' actions. Caillois qualifies types of games and ways of playing, from the improvisation characteristic of children's play to the disciplined pursuit of solutions to gratuitously difficult puzzles. He also examines the means by which games become part of daily life, ultimately giving cultures their most characteristic customs and institutions.
Throughout the world, people believe that much of what they do is accidental, ordinary, and inconsequential, while other acts can bring on divine retribution or earn eternal grace. In Man and the Sacred, Caillois demonstrates how humanity's ambiguous attitude toward the sacred influences behaviour and culture. Drawing on a diverse array of ethnographic contexts, including the sexual rituals of the Ba-Thong of South Africa and evidence drawn from aboriginal Australian, Eskimo, and traditional Chinese social systems, Caillois analyzes the role of the forbidden in the social cohesion of the group. He examines the character of the sacred in the light of specific instances of taboos and transgres...
Michael Murphy, bestselling author of Golf in the Kingdom, explains the power of athletics to transform the body, mind, and spirit Athletes and coaches often say they feel “in the zone” while participating in sports or other endeavors, and Esalen Institute cofounder Michael Murphy carefully documents this phenomenon in one of the most comprehensive works of its kind. Murphy and coauthor Rhea A. White categorize twenty types of extraordinary athletic feats, exalted states of consciousness, and altered perceptions that, they say, evoke the richness of a spiritual practice. This wide-ranging compendium includes insights from amateur, Olympic, and professional athletes, such as Michael Jordan, Mario Andretti, Jack Nicklaus, and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Many people would be surprised to hear that a playful attitude towards God and the world lies at the heart of Christian faith. Traditionally Christians have focused on the serious responsibilities of service, sacrifice, and commitment. But the prophets say that the future kingdom is full of people laughing and playing, which has implications for Christians who are called to live out the future kingdom in the present. Play is not trivial or secondary to work and service—only a playful way of living does justice to the seriousness of life! Play is the essential and ultimate form of relationship with God, which is why Jesus told people to learn from children. Indeed, a playful attitude is an important part of all significant relationships. This book explores grace, faith, love, worship, redemption, and the kingdom from the perspective of a playful attitude. It describes how to create a “play ethic” to match the “work ethic” and discusses play as a virtue, Aquinas’s warning against the sin of not playing enough, and Bonhoeffer’s claim that in a world of pain it is only the Christian who can truly play.
This book examines alienation from both a sociological and psychoanalytic perspective, revisiting classic treatments of the topic (Marx, Simmel, Weber) and exploring its relevance to understanding post-modern consumer society. It examines the escapist potentials for good and for ill in modern society - those fostered by commercial interests, and those maintained by individuals and groups as their form of resisting alienation.
In this firsthand account of high-risk car and motorcycle racing in Japan, Ikuya Sato shows how affluence and consumerism have spawned various experimental and deviant life-styles among youth. Kamikaze Biker offers an intriguing look at a form of delinquency in a country traditionally thought to be devoid of social problems. "Ikuya Sato's Kamikaze Biker is an exceptionally fine ethnographic analysis of a recurrent form of Japanese collective youth deviance. . . . Sato has contributed a work of value to a wide range of scholarly audiences."—Jack Katz, Contemporary Sociology "A must for anyone interested in Japan, juvenile delinquency and/or youth behavior in general, or the impact of afflue...
Encompassing a variety of perspectives on the lives of older women in modern America, this book is a rich mosaic, drawing on demographic, social-psychological, social-historical, economic, and gerontological data, and incorporating transcripts of oral histories, interviews with women artists, fiction and essays by and about women in the second half of their lives, autobiographies, diaries, journals, letters, and other sources.
Have you ever been struck by the number of parties in Modernist literature? In The Modernist Party, internationally distinguished scholars explore the party both as a literary device and as a social setting in which the movement's creative values were dev
People play mobile games everywhere and at any time. Tobin examines this media practice through the players directly using the lens of the players and practice of the Nintendo DS system. He argues for the primacy of context for understanding how digital play functions in today's society, emphasizing location, "killing-time," and mobile communities.