The self-critical politics of play: politics as autotelic
thesisposted 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.