|dc.description||Since Johan Huizinga’s Homo Ludens, 1938, few books have treated adult play at an abstract level using psychology. These works lack empirical statistics. On the other hand, most market research into consumer leisure lacks clear theoretical frameworks. ‘Play as the Main Event’ overcomes these twin deficiencies. It develops Huizinga and the major international theorists of play to define five distinctive features of contemporary play, applying this framework to five sub-sectors of consumer leisure: computer games, sport, gambling, performing arts, and theme parks and adventure holidays.
‘James Woudhuysen's innovative paper … subjects a key postmodernist theoretical concept to a detailed critical scrutiny across a range of sites of leisure and entertainment.’ Paul Filmer, TLS, 12.3.2004, 27.
The paper led to:
• 30,000ww paper ‘Computer games and sex difference’, Women in Games 2005 conference, Abertay University, March 2006, on http://www.woudhuysen.com/documents/ComputerGamesSexDifference.pdf
• chapter, ‘Education as entertainment’ in The Routledge Falmer Guide to Key Debates in Education (July 2004).
The paper brings together some of the vast but disparate literature and statistics on play to measure attendance at, participation in, and paid employment in playful pursuits. Inspired by interdisciplinary perspectives in economics, politics, sociology and technology, it asks:
• Does play provide spaces and moments of freedom that lie beyond the grasp of market forces?
• Is the entertainment provided by play genuinely educational?
• Have UK government policies in support of adult play advanced the cause of culture?
From government sources and the international business media, the paper gives a rigorous review of the five sub-sectors chosen, as well as of other aspects of adult play.||en