Anne Dippel

Trivial Pursuits?

Ludic approaches to digital work environments*


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As the digitization of daily life has advanced and computer games have become a widespread phenomenon of popular culture, play as both form and practice has become a key scientific topic, one which demands more in-depth cultural-anthropological reflection. This article approaches the ludic by way of cultural theory and ethnographic data gathered in the technologized work environments of high-energy physics at the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN). Based on participant observation of the entanglements of work and play, the article brings together established approaches and innovative developments in the field of play research. It demonstrates the capacity of ludic phenomena and theoretical concepts of play to advance fundamental modes of thinking in cultural anthropology. This work sees games and play as a crucial analytical perspective that enables us to interpret complex social processes in new ways.

Game and play, toys, work, scientific cosmology, CERN, Science and Technology Studies, media theory