Caillois Response

Caillois breakdown of play into disinct categories was much more helpful in understanding this academic, in-depth analysis of ‘play’ than the long drawn out writings of Huizinga. I still wonder though why someone feels the need to break down ‘play’ this far, but maybe thats because it is still an emerging field and people are coming up with ideas about what ‘play’ is and why animals do it.The idea that there is an entire section of play carved out for vertigo and dizziness is curious. All the other catagories seem to cover larger ranges of topics but this one is very specific, its almost a human addiction to danger in terms of amusement parks and rollercoasters etc. And as someone who has never felt entertained by spinning around on a machine until I make myself sick, that idea as an entire catagory is very puzzling. He explains this catagory in terms of religious ceremonies in, as he calls them, primitive societies. In this way he compares religion to play as Huizinga does.

Caillois calls upon the identity of the spoil-sport and basically says the same thing as Huizinga on the topic. The idea of the spoil-sport and the cheat being on different levels of ruining play still interests me.  I feel that cheating has been so engrained in our heads as the worst possible outcome in an academic setting, and to be honest I have often been a spoil-sport when it comes to playing board games or card games. So I find it hard to wrap my head around the idea of the spoil-sport being worse in play, even though it does make sense to me. Ruining the sacred space of play by denying its legitimacy you ruin it even more so than if you accept the space and disregard the rules.

Caillois explores play as a social structure, something that we take part in to socialize, to gain ties with a group of people who share in the same interests, as we are just social beings in the end. In this does he mean socialization is a by-product of play or a motive for play? I imagine that as a child it could be either,as with the catagory of play mimicry that Caillois talks about, but as an adult it turns more into a motive for play. Even mimicry ,which takes forms of pretend and make believe as a child that can easily be played alone, evolves into a social grouping in acting and even sexual exploits.

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