6-1 | Jane Austin, Game Theorist

Book Review

Jane Austin, Game Theorist

Michael Suk-Young Chwe
Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2013. Preface, references, preface, index, images. 272 pp. $35.00 cloth. isbn: 978-0691155760

by Mary Flanagan

First Paragraph:

There remains much confusion between discussions of “game theory” and “game studies,” depending on the disciplinary company you keep. Of course, they sound like similar pursuits. The emerging field of game studies, little more than a decade old, tends to build on anthropological studies of play where the focus lies on the sociological and cultural implications of games and play practices. This group is particularly interested in digital games. Game studies emerged quite apart from game theory and its economic and political science models for decision making that systematized games during the last century. Game studies has in part ignored the slightly more established field, perhaps due to a need to study the game-playing experience from so many other methodological approaches and perhaps from game theory’s seemingly inflexible style of conflict analysis. In general terms, game theory purposely ignores the cultural context for decision making, and game studies ignores mathematical models. The two relatively recent disciplines have stayed in their separate corners for some time—until now.