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The self-critical politics of play: politics as autotelic

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posted on 2022-03-28, 17:34 authored by Liam Bernard Engel
This thesis builds upon Ulrich Beck's theory of world risk society, in particular his conceptualisation of cosmopolitan society and his theory of self-criticism. This thesis contends that the concept of play [is]? external to culture and a self-critical concept. Through the legitimation of a relationship between play and politics, the excessive risk production that characterises contemporary society can be undermined. Using a genealogical approach, this thesis explores concepts of politics and play across three epochs, emblematic of prominent social and political archetypes. Such an approach gives emphasis to conception of the 'sport' term as a discursive means of acknowledging the legitimate politics of play. This leads to a case study in which contemporary relationships between play and politics are examined, and the implications of this for the emergence of a second modernity are assessed. The subject of this case study is eSport, and the reliance of eSport politics upon risk productive institutions can be read to imply the continuation of modern technocracy. Despite this, powerful examples of self-critical political logics can be seen as central to eSport communities and their legitimation of play. This thesis concludes by suggesting that politics of contemporary society are unlike those politics of both cosmopolitan and modern societies. Contemporary politics bear striking resemblance to the politics of ancient Greece; a politics of institutionalised self-criticism.


Table of Contents

Introduction -- A genealogy of play: the behavioural modernity, Ancient Greece and the first modernity -- A case study of play: eSport and the second modernity -- Conclusion.


Bibliography: pages 56-60 "A thesis submitted to the Department of Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies, Macquarie University, in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Research".

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


MRes, Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, Department of Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies

Department, Centre or School

Department of Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Rowan Tulloch


Copyright Liam Bernard Engel 2014. Copyright disclaimer:




1 online resource (1 online resource (60 pages)) illustrations (some coloured)

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