1st Edition

The Philosophy of Play as Life

Edited By Wendy Russell, Emily Ryall, Malcolm MacLean Copyright 2018
    272 Pages 17 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    270 Pages 17 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    It is now widely acknowledged that play is central to our lives. As a phenomenon, play poses important questions of reality, subjectivity, competition, inclusion and exclusion. This international collection is the third in a series of books (including The Philosophy of Play and Philosophical Perspectives on Play) that aims to build paradigmatic bridges between scholars of philosophy and scholars of play.

    Divided into four sections (Play as Life, Play as Games, Play as Art and Play as Politics), this book sheds new light on the significance of play for both children and adults in a variety of cultural settings. Its chapters encompass a range of philosophical areas of enquiry such as metaphysics, aesthetics and ethics, and the spectrum of topics explored includes games, jokes, sport and our social relationship with the Internet.

    With contributions from established and emerging scholars from around the world, The Philosophy of Play as Life is fascinating reading for all those with an interest in playwork, the ethics and philosophy of sport, childhood studies or the philosophy of education.


    [Wendy Russell, Malcolm MacLean and Emily Ryall]

    Part 1: Play as Life

    1. Bringing Play to Life and Life to Play: A Vitalist Line of Enquiry

    [Stuart Lester]

    2. Play as Portal to Awakening in the Blithesome Wanderings of Chuang Tzu

    [Phyllis Mazzocchi]

    3. Life-as-play from East to West: A Comparative Analysis of Play in Aurobindo and Schlick

    [Damla Dönmez]

    4. Playing in the Web: New Babylon and the Internet

    [Amy Lee Ketchum]

    Part 2: Play as Games

    5. Five Millennia of Player Practices

    [Chris Bateman]

    6. On the Relationship Between Philosophy and Game-Playing

    [Yuanfan Huang and Emily Ryall]

    7. Gags and Games: Wittgenstein and His Relation to Jokes

    [Ramón del Castillo]

    Part 3: Play as Art

    8. Staying with the In-Between: Arts Practice as a Form of Thinking about Play and Everyday Encounters in a Public Square

    [Hattie Coppard]

    9. The Role of Competition in Musical Play

    [Erin Heisel]

    10. The Ambiguity of Reality: Towards an Awareness of the Significant Role of Play in Higher Arts

    [Imara Felkers]

    11. Art as Play: A Philosophical Comparison of Adults’ and Children’s Art

    [Dominika Czakon and Natalia Anna Michna]

    12. The Artwork as a Perpetual Re-enactment

    [Ilinca Damian]

    Part 4: Play as Politics

    13. The Flow of Play Among Toddlers in Kindergarten

    [Dag Nome]

    14. Between Utopia and Arcadia: How the Playground Epitomizes Visions of Play, Childhood and Societal Longings

    [Darijana Hahn]

    15. Play Against Alienation?

    [Henning Eichberg]

    16. Playing Your Self: Modern Rhetorics of Play and Subjectivity

    [Núria Sara Miras Boronat]


    Wendy Russell is a senior lecturer in Play and Playwork at the University of Gloucestershire, UK and a consultant on children’s play and playwork. Together with Emily Ryall and Malcolm MacLean, she is a co-founder of the biennial Philosophy at Play conferences. Key publications include, co-authored with Stuart Lester, Play for a Change (2008) and Children's Right to Play (2010). She co-edited The Philosophy of Play (2013) and Philosophical Perspectives on Play (2016) with Emily Ryall and Malcolm MacLean, and Practice-based Research on Children’s Play (2017) with Stuart Lester and Hilary Smith. She is on the editorial board of the International Journal of Play.

    Emily Ryall is a senior lecturer in the Philosophy of Sport and Exercise at the University of Gloucestershire, UK. She is author of Philosophy of Sport: Key Questions and Critical Thinking for Sports Students, as well as editing author of Philosophy of Play and Philosophical Perspectives on Play. She is associate editor for the Journal of the Philosophy of Sport and former chair of the British Philosophy of Sport Association. Her website is emilyryall.net and her Twitter handle is @emilyryall.

    Malcolm MacLean is a reader in the Culture and History of Sport at the University of Gloucestershire, UK. He has previously taught history in New Zealand, and worked as a policy analyst and historian in the New Zealand Ministry of Justice. His publications deal with cultural boycotts and sports-related anti-apartheid protests, the cultural politics of settlement colonies and discourses of indigeneity associated with sport, body, and movement cultures. Malcolm is actively involved in international sports studies networks and was Chair of the British Society of Sports History. He is an editor with Wendy Russell and Emily Ryall of Philosophy of Play (Routledge, 2013) and Philosophical Perspectives on Play (Routledge, 2016).

    "I am sure that many other scholars and practitioners of play may be enchanted by reading here and there in this much welcome and highly commendable, and recommendable, work of play and play of work. The Philosophy at Play conference organizers and book editors, Emily Ryall, Wendy Russell, and Malcolm Maclean deserve high praise in deed for their great efforts in reviving play." – Ejgil Jespersen, Jozef Pilsudski University of Physical Education, idrottsforum.org