7-2 | Play Matters

Book Review

Play Matters

Miguel Sicart
Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2014. Notes, references, index, images. 158 pp. $19.95 cloth. ISBN: 9780262027922

by Michael DeAnda,

First Paragraph:

In Play Matters, Miguel Sicart proposes a theory for the ecology of play that emphasizes understanding the activity of play and situates play within the world. The author dislocates play from within Johan Huizinga’s widely accepted “magic circle,” and, instead, contextualizes it directly in tension with reality. Sicart admits that his definition of play is fixed in the current social structure, reacting to postmodernist definitions of play—a definition he believes will one day be obsolete. Yet at present his theory is useful in identifying the transmission between reality and play. Play Matters is a succinct but provocative addition to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press’s Playful Thinking book series. In his first chapter, Sicart establishes a foundation for his theory of the ecology of play. The next three chapters build upon his foundation and provide concrete examples. Chapters 5 through 8 expand his exploration of play ecology into more abstract ideas that demonstrate his theory that play serves as a means to deal with reality.