Bringing play to life and life to play: Different lines of enquiry

Lester, Stuart (2016) Bringing play to life and life to play: Different lines of enquiry. PhD thesis, University of Gloucestershire.

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This doctoral submission draws on a range of published material to pursue meandering lines of enquiry into the study of children’s play. At its heart is a claim that playing is quintessentially the process of life going on in an affirmative manner (Lester, 2015a); not merely an outcome or activity but the grounding of life itself, a force productive of creative novelty that precedes its classification. In developing this account, the writings of Gilles Deleuze, including collaborations with Felix Guattari, and contemporary iterations of what might be termed ‘new materialisms’, take centre stage. it is a geo-philosophical quest that seeks to overcome the individualisation of life and its accompanying categorisation of playing as a subordinate state, something that can only be tolerated if it contributes to furthering the progress of a subject. The intention here is to go beyond such value, to re-position playing alongside life itself and by doing so to question the ways in which childhood, adulthood and space are constructed and practised. This it is not merely carried out at a level of abstraction: true to Deleuzian process philosophy this thesis is not concerned with the meaning of play but questions how does it work and how might it be worked differently? In response, it develops an ‘exemplary method’ (Massumi, 2002, p. 17) by drawing on a series of singular examples from playwork practice, everyday life, research projects and more remote sources. These are designed to be generative and bring forth new concepts rather than reducing things to more of the same. Above all it is an ethico-political manoeuvre, a tentative and modest experiment in (re)thinking and thinking anew what constitutes a ‘good life’ and how we might increase capacities to create a more just and equitable world.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Advisors:
Thesis AdvisorEmailURL
Uncontrolled Keywords: Play
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Creative Arts
Research Priority Areas: Culture, Continuity, and Transformation
Depositing User: Stuart Lester
Date Deposited: 24 Apr 2017 12:59
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2023 09:23

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