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Crafting Future Selves

Time-Tricking and the Limits of Temporal Play in Children’s Online Film-Making

Espen Helgesen

Children in Norway increasingly spend time online, where they play games, create and share videos and hang out with friends. Drawing on fieldwork among immigrant families in Norway, this article investigates the use of avatars to facilitate temporal play in children’s online film-making. By creating animated films starring their own and their friends’ avatars, children playfully engage with a wide range of imagined future selves. Avatars constitute on-screen extensions of selves, allowing inhabitants of online environments to explore and experiment with otherwise inaccessible viewpoints and perspectives. Addressing the limits of time-tricking in children’s temporal play, the article shows how offline conventions shape what avatars can do.

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Dane Sawyer

In this article, I reconsider the question of how best to understand Sartre's concept of bad faith by investigating it through the Derridean lens of deconstruction. I argue that Sartre's discussion of bad faith in Being and Nothingness mirrors Derrida's criticisms of structuralism in 'Structure, Sign, and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences'. Examining their distinctive discussions of 'play', I claim that Derrida's unique deconstructive interpretation of this notion operates within Sartre's criticisms of the 'spirit of seriousness'. I reinterpret bad faith as the attempt to solidify a permanent structure of one's personality, in order to avoid or escape from the 'play' or 'freedom' built into structures and our existential condition, and conclude that embracing 'play' is an essential characteristic of authenticity.

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Laura Spielvogel and Christian Spielvogel

In this report, we introduce our digital e-textbook web platform with an integrated role-playing game, which has been created for 'introduction to anthropology' courses. We believe that textbooks have the potential to do more to motivate students' pursuit of learning if their material (topically organised chapters supported by leading theories, concepts and ideas in a discipline) is tied to an engaging role-playing narrative whereby students can access, analyse, critique and apply information as characters in a simulation. Thus, we have created a two-sided platform that allows students to flip between a macro context and a role-playing simulation. The macro context explores the challenges and rewards of fieldwork, the politics surrounding ethnographic representation and the contested theories of culture. These issues are typically covered in a print-based anthropology textbook but here they have additional digital features. These topics are then applied in a role-playing simulation, Marriage of Cultures, that allows each student anonymously to play a character in a three to four week, open-ended narrative structured around the imaginary wedding of a Japanese bride and her Italian-American groom.

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Without fear and reproach

The role-playing games community as a challenge to mainstream culture

Tat'iana Barchunova and Natal'ia Beletskaia

The article describes one of the most developed networks of intellectual youth in post-Soviet Russia. This network originated in science-fiction clubs and the 'Zarnitsa game' of the 1960s to 1980s. Yet unlike Zarnitsa games, which have been used at Soviet schools as an instrument of political mainstreaming, the current role-playing games community is opposing itself to mainstream politics and popular culture. The article approaches this network as a community of practice, which is constituted by three basic elements: learning, doing, and justification of meaning. Both leaders and rank-and-file members of the community justify their agency within the community through the concept of rule. It is the rule-governed community, which according to them, helps them to feel secure and fearless in a society that they see as devoid of any strict regulations. The article closes with an analysis of the inner and outer conflicts of the role-playing games community.

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An Afternoon of Productive Play with Problematic Dolls

The Importance of Foregrounding Children's Voices in Research

Rebecca C. Hains

Bratz dolls, popular among pre-adolescent girls, have been the subject of widespread criticism. Many scholars, activists, educators, and parents have argued that the scantily clad fashion dolls contribute to the sexualization of girls that has been decried by the American Psychological Association, among others. As is often the case in studies of girls' popular culture, however, these conversations about the problems with Bratz have rarely incorporated the voices of girls in the brand's target audience. To address this gap, this article analyzes an afternoon of Bratz doll play by a small group of African-American girls, aged between 8 and 10 years. This article suggests that although critical concerns about Bratz' sexualization are warranted, the dolls' racial diversity may benefit some girls' play, enabling them to productively negotiate complex issues of racial identity, racism, and history while paying little attention to the dolls' sexualized traits.

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Milacres of San Vicente Ferrer

From the Pages of a Play to the Streets of Valencia

Urszula Wilk

The aim of this study is to bring the feast of San Vicente Ferrer in the city of Valencia closer to our knowledge. This festivity serves as a good example of how literature created by local folk writers is transformed into a street performance. At the same time it is one of the best examples of contemporary popular religiosity in this region of Spain. On the day of the celebration, actors perform short plays on the streets of the city. The shows are based on the life of the patron of the city and are written by local authors. The feast has a long history – the oldest altar was set in la calle del Mar in the mid-fifteenth century – and the celebrations continue into the twenty-first century with well-organised associations. These entities are an element of the utmost importance for the neighbourhood. They both preserve traditional Valencian customs and this region’s own language, and have an important role in shaping social relationships within the community.

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Gerrit K. Roessler

This article examines Ulrich Horstmann's science fiction radio play Die Bunkermann-Kassette (The Bunker Man Cassette, 1979), in which the author frames fears and anxieties surrounding a potential nuclear conflict during the Cold War as apocalyptic self-annihilation of the human race. Radio, especially radio drama, had a unique role in capturing the historical imaginaries and traumatic experiences surrounding this non-event. Horstmann's radio drama and the titular cassette tape become sound artifacts that speak to the technological contexts of their time, while their acoustic content carries the past sounds into the present. In the world of the play, these artifacts are presented in a museum of the future, which uses the possibilities of science fictional imagination and speculation to create prosthetic memories of the Cold War. The article suggests that these memories are cyborg memories, because the listener is a fully integrated component of radio technology that makes these memories and recollections of imagined events possible in the first place.

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Neda Maghbouleh, Clayton Childress and Carlos Alamo-Pastrana

Marx's critique of capitalism remains foundational to the university social science curriculum yet little is known about how instructors teach Marx. In post-industrial, service-oriented economies, students are also increasingly disconnected from the conditions of industrial capitalism that animate Marx's analysis. Inspired by the discussion of how a piece of wood becomes a table in Marx's Capital Vol. 1., 'Our Table Factory, Inc.' simulates a diverse array of roles in the chain of production into and out of a table factory to understand key concepts: means/mode of production, use/exchange value, primitive accumulation wage/surplus labour, proletariat, bourgeoisie, alienation, false consciousness, commodity fetishism and communist revolution. We describe the exercise and present qualitative and quantitative assessment data from introductory sociology undergraduates across three small teaching-intensive universities in the United States. Findings detail the exercise's efficacy in fostering retention of material and in facilitating critical engagement with issues of inequality.

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Karma Sami

Four Arab Hamlet Plays, edited by Marvin Carlson and Margaret Litvin with Joy Arab (New York: Martin E. Segal Theatre Centre Publications, 2015). 299 pages.

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God Does Not Play Dice with the Universe, or Does He?

Anthropological Interlocutions of Sport and Religion

Thomas F. Carter

Religion has been a central object of anthropological inquiry since its earliest days. In contrast, sport has remained an ancillary object of interest at best. Nonetheless, anthropologists have written some provocative analyses that challenge other disciplinary approaches to sport. Principally, those analyses emerged out of anthropological approaches to religion. Concerned with the ways in which anthropology theorizes and analyzes both religion and sport, this article begins by assessing the modern-day myth that 'sport is a religion'. It then compares subject-specific approaches to the relationships between sport and religion. The article then moves to the anthropological focus on ritual as it developed in the study of religion and how those ideas were then applied to analyses of sport. The article concludes with an examination of how the anthropology of sport has moved beyond those initial efforts before discussing various anthropological approaches to sport and religion.