CFP: AOIR 2016 panel – ‘the playful web’

CfP: AoIR 2016 panel –
‘the playful web’
We solicit papers for a panel considering the notion of ‘play’ as a framework for conceptualising internet research. Most existing scholarship exploring play in relation to internet technologies concentrates on games and gaming (Salen and Zimmerman 2003; Juul 2003; Boellstorff 2008; Nardi 2010). Whilst undoubtedly important, little attention has been given to the ‘play element’ itself in human-technological encounters, and in settings that are not so obviously ludic. Leaving this gap unaddressed risks ‘play’ becoming a category reserved only for a narrow spectrum of activities, or a notion deemed dialectically opposed to ‘work’.

This panel addresses the gap by considering play a concept-metaphor (Huizinga 1949; Turner 1982), and analytical category for investigating entities or domains which in themselves are not necessarily considered playful (Frissen et al. 2015). From the drafting of internet legislation, digital labour or the activities of hackers, activists and artists, we seek papers that explore diverse theoretical and practical dimensions of play. Thinking in this fashion does not obviate enquires into issues of power and inequality. To the contrary, one task becomes tracking how the disposition of play has been turned into an ‘object of institutional desire’, how attitudes of indeterminacy, affective power and improvisation become coopted or denied, commodified and utilised in internet environments by individuals and organisations alike (Malaby 2009, 216). As such, the panel feeds strongly back into the main conference theme: (how) can rule-making and breaking be undertaken in a playful fashion? If so, with what consequences?

We welcome papers from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, methodologies, and subjects. Topics may include (but are not limited to): games as practice and/or confrontation vis-à-vis status and hierarchy, power and representation; identity and community; chance and uncertainty. Such interests might be explored amongst and between individuals and groups, governments and organisations, from hackers and their practices to artists, citizen journalists, activists and beyond.

To be considered for this panel, we would need the AOIR-standard 1200-word abstract by February 22, 2016 sent<>. We will notify our selected panelists by February 26 with any revisions required ahead of the AOIR deadline of March 1.

Any questions, please email the panel organisers,<><>