Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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Play, game
(1,601 words)

1. Definitions and study

Apart from any putatively universal play instinct, play can be understood as an activity with social, political, and symbolic functions, that is, a way of creating culture [10. 75]. Its separation from the space and time of the everyday world by rules (“act as if”) points to its roots in sacral ritual. Social questions are represented and debated in play; roles are played but also reversed (Carnival, travesty; Topsy-Turvy World).

The words game and play (German Spiel, from…

Cite this page
Krampl, Ulrike, “Play, game”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 18 October 2021 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_COM_027778>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20200721



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