Homo ludens in the twenty-first century: Towards an understanding of Caillois's paidia in sports

Felkers, Imara and Mulder, Ellen and MacLean, Malcolm (2015) Homo ludens in the twenty-first century: Towards an understanding of Caillois's paidia in sports. In: Philosophical perspectives on play. Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group, New York, pp. 123-135. ISBN 978-1-138-84143-7

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Abstract

Even among participants, physical activity and sport seem run through with paradox—the drive (rather than walk or cycle) to the club match or the gym, the joy of movement and the focus on repetitive regularity and performance in placeless stadia and fitness centres, the claims of an 'endorphine rush' and bliss in a sterile, emotionless place devoid of leisure and in many cases devoid of pleasure. The significance of this paradox may be seen in public health responses to the lack of physical activity as an issue connected to a global rise of obesity, diabetes and other health problems. Many public health policies intended to stimulate physical activity, such as the WHO global physical activity strategy, do not deliver on expectations. As part of the project this chapter draws on, adults were interviewed about play in their life-span. At first it seemed that adults hardly played at all. However, during the interviews it became clear that they did not call their play 'play', so attention shifted from whether they play to what they play: the activity. The presence of the verb to 'play' in sports activities such as 'playing' football or 'playing' tennis indicates that a sport activity cannot exist without being 'played', yet much sport is regulated in ways that undermine playfulness. This discursive characteristic demands that we unravel the concept of play to clarify the role of play in physical activity.

Item Type: Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sports, public policy, adult play, life span, physical activity
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV557 Sports
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Sport & Exercise > Sport and Exercise
Research Priority Areas: Sport, Exercise, Health & Wellbeing
Depositing User: Susan Turner
Date Deposited: 19 Jul 2016 08:35
Last Modified: 02 Nov 2016 11:33
URI: http://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/3771

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