Pub. Date:
Digital Culture & Society (DCS) Vol. 5, Issue 2 (2019): Laborious Play and Playful Work I

Digital Culture & Society (DCS) Vol. 5, Issue 2 (2019): Laborious Play and Playful Work I


Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for delivery by Thursday, September 30


This double issue of Digital Culture & Society addresses the complex thematic field of the dialectics of play and labour. It takes a closer look at the problem of play and work from two overlapping, albeit not mutually exclusive, perspectives: laborious play and playful work. The term laborious play points to practices and processes that turn playful activities into hard work. Laborious play happens whenever playfulness turns into work, and may be observed in such activities such as e-sports, excessive play, "goldfarming", and Twitch gameplay broadcasting, amongst many others. A complementary phenomenon to that of laborious play is the practice and concept of playful work. The promises of a joyful and rewarding working experience have been promoted as "gamification" while critical voices denounce such attempts as ideology, exploitation or simply "bullshit".

Related collections and offers

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9783837644791
Publication date: 04/06/2021
Series: Digital Culture & Society
Pages: 200
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.40(h) x (d)

About the Author

Pablo Abend (PhD) is the scientific coordinator of the Research School “Locating Media” at the University of Siegen. He is interested in geomedia, situated methodologies, participatory culture, and Science and Technology Studies. Sonia Fizēk (Dr.) is a digital games, design and media scholar. She was senior lecturer in the School of Informatics and Design at Abertay University in Dundee. Before joining Abertay, she was a post-doctoral researcher at the Centre for Digital Cultures at Leuphana University Lüneburg. Fizēk is an active member of the research community as an associate editor of the Journal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds, and a board member for multiple initiatives and journals, such as: Digital Culture and Society Journal, Digital Games Research Association (British DiGRA), Replay. The Polish Journal of Game Studies, and Journal of the Philosophy of Games, amongst many others. Her current research focuses on the relationship between digital games and automation. She looks at self-playing games, automated gameplay, and algorithmic players to understand the essence of and the fascination with self-acting playful systems. Mathias Fuchs (Dr.) is an artist, musician and media scholar. He is the director of the Gamification Lab at Leuphana University in Lüneburg. He is a pioneer in the field of game art and is a leading scholar in game studies and directs a project on Gamification that is funded by the German Research Council (2018-2021). Karin Wenz (Dr.) is an assistant professor of Media Culture at Maastricht University, Netherlands, and director of studies of the MA Media Culture.

Table of Contents


The Boundaries of Play Pablo Abend Sonia Fizek Mathias Fuchs Karin Wenz 5

I Theoretical Reflections

Play as Work

On the Sportification of Computer Games Daniel Pargman Daniel Svensson 15

Working on and at Play

Perception and Visibility in Games Rainforest Scully-Blaker 41

"Good Icing can't Change an Average Cake"

Gameful Experience, Work Relationships and the Automation of Behavioural Management Sebastián Gómez 61

II Case Studies

Feeling for an Audience

The Gendered Emotional Labor of Video Game Live Streaming Bonnie Ruberg Amanda L.L. Cullen 85

Playful Work and Laborious Play in Super Mario Maker Mark R Johnson 103

Gaming Musical Instruments

Music has to be Hard Work! Jan Torge Claussen 121

III Entering the Field

Convergence of Rhetoric, Labour, and Play in the Construction of Inactive Discourses on Twitch Alexandra S. Catá 133

Owning It

Made in Chelsea and the Post-Work World JDA Winslow 149

IV In Conversation with…

Esports and Live Streaming

Between Grind, Critical Work and Leisure Karin Wenz in conversation T.L. Taylor 161

Biographical Notes 169

Customer Reviews